Jury selection for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried reaches 50

Jury selection for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried reaches 50

The selection of jury selection for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried's criminal trial is going to a second day, with the pool of qualified jurors now narrowed to 50, from which 12 will be selected by Wednesday morning.

A number of potential jurors retracted themselves for reasons that might biased their opinion of the former crypto mogul's innocence. For some, the bias came from losing money in crypto-something FTX's collapse greatly exacerbated last year.

Zal Dang, 58, pleaded not sure he could remain unbiased in a crypto-related case. I've felt negatively about it since I learned about it, he said, according to Inner City Press.

Judge Lewis Kaplan asked if any of the jurors were familiar with FTX or its sister hedge fund Alameda Research, noting that the case would revolve around 'crypto' and 'blockchain'. Two of them admitted to having invested in the asset class only to lose money.

The others disclosed more peripheral career ties to the broader financial industry. One claimed to work with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, another with Bank United, and another with Morgan Stanley, a bank once bullish on collapsed crypto bank Silvergate, which was deeply entrenched with FTX.

Kaplan said the collapse of the stock exchange had generated a lot of publicity, and told jurors to avoid all media coverage of the trial. One juror said she had worked for the fallen bank, and when asked if they were familiar with any of the major names connected to the bankruptcy, she said they were familiar with Silvergate, Anthony Scaramucci, Caroline Elison, and others.

SBF is charged with conspiracy and fraud, including defrauding his customers by lending their deposits to Alameda without their permission.

Experts contacted by Decrypt last week declined his chances of acquittal, given the powerful witness testimony and evidence already amassed by prosecutors. Some pointed out that the jury's lack of knowledge of crypto could cause uncertainty to make the jury hesitate before convicting the exchange founder.

''T know what the prosecution's talking about, it's pretty hard to convict beyond a reasonable doubt,' said Brian Newman, an attorney at the law firm Dykema Gossett.

One juror said he couldn't understand crypto very well, but Judge Kaplan was not so sympathetic.