Sam Bankman trial hears no plea deals in no plea deal

Sam Bankman trial hears no plea deals in no plea deal

On the first day of Sam Bankman's trial, U.S. government prosecutors told the court that no plea deals had ever been under consideration for the accused former CEO.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Roos said: Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Roos on behalf of the government, according to a partial transcript live-tweeted by Inner City Press.

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

Bankman-Fried may have been able to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence or dropped charges, if a plea deal had been offered. In the absence of such an offer, Bankman-Fried has maintained a not guilty plea in response to the indictments filed over the past several months.

The decision against a plea offer is particularly significant given that some Bankman-Fried's former associates, such as Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh, have received and agreed to plea deals. During the trial, these individuals are likely to testify 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 that he had learned about FTX via the podcaster Joe Rogan. One juror said that his company had lost money investing in FTX and Alameda Research.

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

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

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