Jury selection process for FTX founder's trial begins

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Jury selection process for FTX founder's trial begins

Ari Redbord, who leads the global policy and government affairs division of TRM Labs, is the head of policy and government affairs at TRM Labs. After being arrested in the Bahamas, the founder and former CEO of FTX will stand trial in the New York Federal District Court next week on charges related to his involvement in defrauding customers of the exchange.

The case against Bankman-Fried, known as SBF, has been hailed at Usain Bolt's speed, with an extradition, multiple cooperating witnesses, and a mountain of electronic evidence.

The process of trial of such cases can often take years to complete, resulting in cases of this size and scale. However, before both sides make their opening statements, a jury must be selected. The procedure, voir dire, is due to begin tomorrow.

voir dire is the process in which potential jurors from the community are questioned by either the judge or the lawyers to determine their suitability for jury service.

The procedure aims to allow both sides and the court to identify jurors who are impartial and unbiased. During the process the judge will ask questions - including those submitted by government and defence lawyers - of prospective jurors.

Some questions will be personal in nature, while others will be more substantive to determine whether or not a juror has a connection to the parties in the case or holds a bias for or against the defendant.

If the case is a serious matter, lawyers on both sides can each use ten peremptory challenges to remove jurors from the case.

While the questions for the most part are standard jury selection fare, voir dire will be the first time attorneys for both sides have an opportunity to evaluate the men and women who will decide the case.

It also offers the opportunity for government and defence lawyers to subtly Preview their respective cases through their questions.

The seasoned prosecutors and defence lawyers will not only be listening for answers but also be evaluating juror body language and other behavioral manifestations of bias.

The judge's first task is to present the charges to a courtroom filled with potential jurors.

The judge will explain that the indictment - which is not evidence - alleges that SBF and his co-conspirators defrauded FTX customers and investors and conspired to launder the proceeds of the fraud.

The court said the indictment charged SBF with seven charges including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud on FTX customers and investors and Alameda lenders.

The indictment also charges SBF with money laundering conspiracy in attempting to hide the proceeds of the scam.

Of those charges, only two - wire fraud on FTX customers and Alameda lenders - are substantive, meaning prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that SBF himself actively engaged in the criminal activity.

The government must prove SBF planned to commit the crime with at least one other person, the government said.

The government has asked the court to explain to the jury that 'there is no need to prove that the crime or crimes... actually were committed,' with conspiracy charges, unlike the substantive charges.

This is an important distinction, and the judge will again reiterate this point in his jury instructions at the end of the trial.

While this all sounds very complicated, prosecutors will likely try to simplify things by presenting evidence that SBF and his co-conspirators intended to commit a massive fraud on customers and investors.

If the government is able to prove the fraud, the government will likely meet their burden on most or all counts.

Despite being sloppy and incompetent, SBF lawyers will argue that he didn't have the criminal intent to defraud customers and investors.

The defense lawyers will argue that SBF took various actions 'on advice of counsel,' which could potentially obviate criminal intent.

And this is all expected to happen on just one day.

Over the next few weeks - don't make plans for November - we will see opening statements, hear from myriad witnesses, and be presented with millions of pages of evidence, recordings, and testimony from SBF's inner circle.

This case, just nine months and 20 days from arrest and about 11 months from the collapse of FTX, has moved at unprecedented speed. We will see if the trial proceeds as quickly as possible, he said.