Librarian and Retired Corrections Officer Included in Jury for Sam Bankman-Fried Case
The jury selection process for the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried concluded on Wednesday morning, with a diverse group of individuals from various professional backgrounds chosen to serve.
Among the selected jurors are a former prosecutor, several Metro North commuter rail line workers, a librarian, and a retired corrections officer.
Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presides over the case, hoped that the jury selection on the first day, but it became apparent by Tuesday afternoon that it would not be possible.
During the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Roos confirmed that no plea deal had been offered to Bankman-Fried, which his legal team also acknowledged.
Approximately 200 people were summoned for jury selection on Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning, around 50 individuals returned for further consideration.
At 11 a.m. ET, Judge Kaplan asked the jurors if there was anything about the nature of the case that would make it difficult for them to be impartial.
Several individuals raised their hands, leading to the dismissal of at least 10 people.
While some U.S. states prohibit the naming of jurors, New York allows the press to do so. However, in sensitive cases where the jury members’ safety may be at risk, their identities can be withheld.
Jurors were excused for various reasons, including weddings, medical appointments, work-related travel, and one individual, who identified themselves as a commodities trader, expressed concern about the trial’s potential disruption to their job.
During the first day, juror number 29, Zal Dang, expressed doubts about his ability to remain unbiased in a case related to cryptocurrencies.
He confessed to having negative sentiments towards the industry since learning about it, as reported by Inner City Press on Tuesday.
Judge Lewis Kaplan also inquired if any of the potential jurors were familiar with FTX or its affiliated hedge fund, Alameda Research, as the trial would involve discussions on “crypto” and “blockchain.”
Two jurors admitted to having invested in the asset class but ended up losing money.
Others revealed career connections to the broader financial industry, including positions at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Bank United, and Morgan Stanley, the latter of which had previously shown optimism towards the now-defunct crypto bank Silvergate, which had close ties to FTX.
Bankman-Fried’s Trial to Last Six Weeks
Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO and co-founder of the collapsed crypto giant FTX, faces seven criminal charges, including wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering.
FTX and its related entities unexpectedly went bankrupt in November of the previous year, resulting in the loss of billions of dollars in customer funds.
Bankman-Fried was subsequently arrested in the Bahamas in December and extradited to the United States. He pleaded not guilty to all charges on January 3.
The trial is expected to last approximately six weeks, during which the prosecution will present its case against Bankman-Fried.