For his first day in court, Sam Bankman-Fried showed up with his hair cut short by one of the inmates at Brooklyn Federal Prison. Dressed in a gray suit, the former FTX CEO, who once again finds himself at the heart of the news, sat between his 2 lawyers and kept a low profile throughout his first day.
In any case, the judge reassured one of the potential jurors that he was not facing the death penalty. However, if Sam Bankman-Fried were to be found guilty of all the charges against him, he would be sentenced to over 110 years, the equivalent of spending the rest of his life behind bars.
Thus, this first day was entirely devoted to jury selection. Judge Lewis Kaplan, overseeing the case, asked questions to exclude as many potential jurors as possible who might have a subjective view of the case. Several dozen potential jurors were thus excluded, although there were still around fifty to be questioned. At the end of the selection process, only 12 official jurors and 6 alternates will remain.
Once the final jury has been impaneled, the federal prosecutors and Sam Bankman-Fried’s defense attorneys will take turns presenting the issues they wish to address and what they wish to prove through the trial. More generally, the trial will determine whether Sam Bankman-Fried is responsible for what he is accused of.
These opening statements are expected to last around an hour, after which the prosecutors will call their first witness. In other words, we can expect the closing arguments to begin in the early afternoon (New York time).
Judge Kaplan wants an impartial jury.
Jury selection (see saying) involves asking various questions to ensure the jury is as objective as possible. During yesterday’s selection, the judge asked jurors questions ranging from their religious beliefs and physical handicaps to any financial difficulties that might disrupt their attendance at the trial.
Moreover, it turns out that a number of potential jurors know nothing about the world of cryptocurrencies. Others have admitted that they or people they know have invested in crypto and lost money. One juror said he “didn’t understand” cryptocurrencies, even after trying to study the issue.
Danielle Sassoon, the assistant prosecutor, also confirmed the presence of witnesses who had agreed to testify, such as Nishad Singh, Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, Sam Trabucco, Ryne Miller, Ryan Salame and Mark Wetjen. Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents are also expected to be heard.
Finally, Judge Lewis Kaplan addressed Sam Bankman-Fried, informing him that he could testify in his defense. However, this is unlikely to happen. Indeed, his legal team had previously stated that they would take care of this.
Sources : Wall Street Journal