Mark Cohen, the attorney representing Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of the now-defunct crypto exchange FTX, has voiced objections to the proposed jury questions for the upcoming fraud trial. Cohen argues that these questions, as presented by the United States government, may lead to biased responses and an unfair trial for his client.
In a court filing dated September 29, Cohen contends that the government’s proposed voir dire, the process of selecting jurors, discourages full disclosure from potential jurors and fails to extract enough information to assess potential juror bias. He further asserts that the language used in the questions assumes Bankman-Fried’s guilt in fraud and money laundering, rather than acknowledging the allegations as unproven.
Cohen stresses the importance of the court emphasizing that Bankman-Fried is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He advocates for questions that do not prejudge the case.
However, the U.S. government has opposed Bankman-Fried’s proposed questions, deeming them unnecessary and time-consuming. The objections pertain to Bankman-Fried’s inquiries about pretrial publicity, the effective altruism philosophical movement, political donations and lobbying, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Jury selection is scheduled to commence on October 3, with the trial itself set to begin on October 4. A trial calendar recently released indicates that there will be 15 full trial days in October, followed by six more in November.
Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried has been in detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center since August 11. Despite several requests for temporary release to prepare for the trial, U.S. Judge Lewis Kaplan has consistently denied his requests. The case continues to garner attention as it moves forward, with the jury selection process becoming a focal point of contention.