Sam Bankman-Fried's defense denies plea deal during trial

Sam Bankman-Fried's defense denies plea deal during trial

On the opening day of Sam Bankman-Fried's trial in New York, U.S. government prosecutors said that no plea deals had ever been under consideration for the accused former CEO.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Roos, an assistant U.S. Attorney, told Inner City Press: 'I know what you're talking about,' he said in a partial transcript live-tweeted by Inner City Press.

On Monday, Judge Lewis Kaplan asked the defense whether the prosecutor's account was accurate. Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried's lawyer, confirmed that there had been no such offer.

Bankman-Fried's plea deal, if offered, might have allowed him to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence or dropped charges. Bankman-Fried has remained in the absence of such an offer and has continued a not guilty plea in response to the indictments filed over the past few months.

The decision to accept a plea deal is particularly significant given that some Bankman-Fried's former associates, including Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh, have received and agreed to plea deals. The most likely candidates to testify in a trial are the individuals who have become known as Witnesses.

The trial's opening day focused largely on jury selection, as Judge Kaplan sought possible conflicts of interest among jurors.

In addition, a number of jurors said they were familiar with the case, including one who said he had learned about FTX through the podcaster Joe Rogan. One jury member said his company had lost money by investing in FTX and Alameda Research.

Two jurors said they or a family member invested in cryptocurrency and lost money, and a juror said he has felt negatively about crypto since he learned about it. Another juror said that she once worked with Signature Bank, a now-collapsed bank that at one point provided services to Bankman-Fried's FTX empire.

Some jurors were also removed from the case. The judge also warned jurors not to share or post information about proceedings and warned jurors to stay away from news media.

The trial, according to Judge Kaplan, will last for about six weeks, possibly ending in mid-November.