Prosecutors Criticize Proposed Jury Selection Questions in Sam Bankman-Fried Trial

Prosecutors Push Back Against Defense’s Proposed Questions for Jury Selection in Sam Bankman-Fried Case

The former CEO of the now-defunct FTX exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), is facing seven counts of fraud-related offenses, including wire fraud of FTX customers. In the ongoing case, Bankman-Fried’s legal counsel proposed a set of questions for potential jurors on various topics, including the effective altruism movement, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and political donations. However, prosecutors have pushed back against these questions, deeming them “unnecessarily intrusive” and time-consuming.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote to Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, expressing their concerns about the nature of the defense’s proposed questions. The prosecutors argued that the questions contain numerous open-ended inquiries about potential jurors’ opinions on the case, the defendant, and the defendant’s companies. They also objected to the defense’s request to ask whether potential jurors can “completely ignore” what they have previously seen, considering it to be beyond the purpose of voir dire, which refers to a preliminary examination of a witness or the jury pool.

The DOJ specifically objected to questions related to pretrial publicity, the use of resources for effective altruism, political donations, and ADHD. They argued that the questions about effective altruism were an attempt to cast Bankman-Fried in a positive light and strengthen the defense. The prosecutors stated that voir dire is not the appropriate forum to suggest to the jury that the defendant was simply a philanthropist who wanted to make the world a better place.

The Department of Justice is urging the court to use its own voir dire, which they claim contains standard, neutral, and appropriate questions.

One of the defense’s proposed questions touched on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as Bankman-Fried reportedly suffers from the condition. However, the prosecutors believe that questions about ADHD are irrelevant and prejudicial, as they would only portray Bankman-Fried sympathetically at the beginning of the trial. The DOJ requested that the court prevent the mention of the defendant’s mental health or symptomatic body language to the jury. They argued that Bankman-Fried is currently taking medication for his ADHD, which effectively manages any symptoms, and that the description of potential visible symptoms of ADHD is vague and expansive, inviting the defendant to disrupt the trial under the guise of exhibiting symptoms.

Sam Bankman-Fried, who maintains his innocence, is scheduled to begin his trial in New York in early October, barring any postponements.

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J-S Tremblay
About the author - J-S Tremblay

I've been involved in the cryptocurrency world since 2016 and trading since 2019. I started Moon and Lambo in 2021. I'm passionate about crypto and love to share my knowledge. I hate bankers and I hope that cryptocurrency will change the financial world for the better. View full profile...

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