Federal prosecutors accuse former FTX CEO’s defense team of biased juror selection


  • Federal prosecutors have accused the defense team of Sam Bankman-Fried, former FTX CEO, of trying to bias potential jurors in his upcoming criminal trial through controversial voir dire questions.
  • The prosecutors objected to specific questions that they claim are “unnecessarily intrusive” and could give the defense an unfair advantage, while the defense has raised concerns about the government’s conduct and overwhelming evidence.
  • The trial, scheduled to begin on October 6, is already mired in controversies, including leaked writings from Bankman-Fried and disputes over jury selection, making it a high-stakes case in the cryptocurrency industry.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have accused the defense team of Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced former CEO of FTX, of attempting to bias potential jurors in the upcoming criminal trial. The prosecutors submitted a filing last Friday, requesting the presiding judge to discard a series of questions proposed by the defense for the voir dire process—the preliminary examination of jurors. 

The prosecutors claim that these questions are “unnecessary, time-consuming, and argumentative,” and could unduly influence the jury selection process. Both parties had submitted their proposed questions to potential jurors last Monday, but the prosecutors took issue with a set of open-ended questions from the defense.

The defense’s questions included asking jurors if they could “completely ignore” previous media coverage of the case. Prosecutors argued that such questioning was “unnecessarily intrusive” and that prior knowledge of the case was not a disqualifying factor. They also rejected a question that implied the government might have an unfair advantage in the case, stating that it was inappropriate to suggest such a notion to potential jurors.

Defense and prosecution at odds

The defense and prosecution are also at odds over other aspects of the case. Prosecutors criticized the defense’s questions surrounding Bankman-Fried’s embrace of effective altruism and his ADHD diagnosis, labeling them as attempts to cast the defendant in a “sympathetic light.” 

Meanwhile, the defense has criticized the government’s conduct, particularly after prosecutors turned over more than four million pages of evidence on August 28. They argue that the volume of evidence is too much to review before the trial, scheduled to begin on October 6. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have also requested multiple times for his early release to adequately prepare for the trial.

Bankman-Fried faces serious charges related to the collapse of crypto exchange FTX in 2022. He is accused of mishandling billions of dollars in customer funds and defrauding investors. If convicted, he could spend decades in prison. Last month, the judge reportedly considered delaying the trial to give Bankman-Fried more time to review the evidence against him.

There is no doubt that the upcoming trial of Sam Bankman-Fried is already fraught with tension between the defense and prosecution, particularly over the voir dire process. As both sides prepare for the trial, the issue of juror selection has become a contentious point, reflecting the high stakes and complexity of the case. 

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Written by Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.