Jury selection begins in Sam Bankman-Fried's trial

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Jury selection begins in Sam Bankman-Fried's trial

The trial of FTX's founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, has begun.

One of the most significant financial frauds in U.S. history, according to federal prosecutors. Bankman-Fried, a widely regarded cryptocurrency billionaire, is accused of orchestrating a multi-billion-dollar fraud. He faces charges related to defrauding customers on his digital currency exchange, FTX. The accusations stem from wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering.

The case has been described by Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, as one of the biggest financial frauds in American history. Bankman-Fried's trial could last up to six weeks.

This post will be updated regularly throughout the trial.

No regulation isn't an excuse for the administration, said Justice Department spokeswoman Maryanne O'Connor.

Early in the morning on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan, saying a lack of clear crypto regulations in the U.S. is not an acceptable defense for the charges against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. SBF has argued that he adhered to regulations-however sparse or unclear- since FTX was not regulated in the United States.

The letter argues that the absence of specific regulations doesn't justify the alleged misappropriation of funds. Judge Lewis Kaplan even asked some candidates on whether they watched Sunday's episode of 60 Minutes on CBS, which featured a largely positive take on Sam Bankman-Fried.

A final jury pool hasn't been selected, and while the court has rescheduled for the day, a final jury has yet to be selected. The selection process will continue tomorrow and likely end before the mid-day recess.

Amidst questions for jurors to weigh their impartiality or potential biases, prosecutors today revealed names of past unmentioned, yet important players in the FTX drama who may be called to testify or be mentioned at trial. The former CEO of Alameda, Sam Trabucco, hasn't been heard from publicly since he resigned in August 2022.

SBF's lawyers filed a lawsuit yesterday against Continental Casualty Company, an excess insurer under a directors and officers policy for Paper Bird Inc. and related companies-which includes FTX. The policy states explicitly requires CNA to pay defense costs incurred by the insureds, including Bankman-Fried.

Bankman-Fried argues in his lawsuit that CNA has refused to meet its contractual obligation to pay his defense costs, despite multiple requests. Now that $10 million worth of coverage has been exhausted, the company is liable for up to $5 million.

The policy itself was signed and implemented in August 2022, a few months before the FTX founder resigned and the company filed for bankruptcy.

ET Judge Lewis Kaplan asked potential jurors if there was anything about the nature of Bankman-Fried's case that would make it difficult for them to be fair. At least 10 people raised their hands and were excused, Decrypt's André Beganksi said.

He added that he had heard of Bankman-Fried from the Joe Rogan podcast.

SBF is in the courtroom and there is no plea deal on the table.

Jurors walked into the room at about 9 a.m. on Friday, investigators said. Bankman-Fried's lawyer said there were no plea offers extended to Bankman-Fried, which FTX founder's lawyer later confirmed.

Although not yet discussed in court, an early-morning filing by SBF's team seeks to stop the DOJ from calling FTX customers as witnesses during the ex-CEO of the now-defunct crypto exchange. Bankman-Fried's lawyers argue that victims who lost money when the exchange filed for bankruptcy may critically misunderstand the relationship they had with the exchange and therefore bias the jury against SBF.

On Tuesday, crowds outside the New York courthouse where jury selection will begin in Bankman-Fried's trial. Court officials told Decrypt reporter André Beganki that there would be no 'perp walk' to bring Bankman-Fried into the courthouse because he's already in custody.

A judge dismissed a motion by Bankman-Fried's attorneys to allow him to be released from prison during the duration of his trial. By 9 a.m., court officials had admitted him to the courthouse.