Jury selection begins in Sam Bankman-Fried's first day

Jury selection begins in Sam Bankman-Fried's first day

The trial to rule them all has arrived.

On a balmy October morning in New York City, Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and his lawyers showed up in court to begin what prosecutors for the government are estimating will be a six-week showdown between a team of decorated attorneys from the Southern District of New York and a set of seasoned criminal defense lawyers.

But the affair didn't start with fireworks. The procedure was procedural to select 12 members of the jury and six alternates, who will ultimately decide the fate of the crypto wunderkind turned crypto criminal.

There were, however, some surprise-seeking news--from new revelations about a plea deal to a new look for the former CEO of FTX. What happened in the first day of what's sure to be a month-and-a-half deluge of SBF, SBF, and SBF.

Before the jury selection process began, Prosecutor Nicolas Roos addressed Judge Lewis Kaplan, saying that the government broached the idea of discussing a plea deal early on but that the answer was no.

Whether the no came from Bankman-Fried's team or was an internal decision among prosecutors was unclear; however, it was the first public clarification that prosecutors never delivered a formal plea deal to the FTX cofounder, even despite striking deals with four former FTX lieutenants.

As recorded in the transcript of the court's transcript, Roos said. Bankman-Fried's representative declined to discuss the matter on the record.

He did get a haircut.

On Monday, Martin Shkreli, a drug dealer who spent four years in prison for securities fraud, posted on Facebook that he had heard Bankman-Fried-known for his unruly mop of black curls-had cut his hair.

When he appeared in court on Tuesday, Bankman-Fried was indeed sporting a new haircut, but, unsurprisingly, the former billionaire, whose trademark look was a general air of dishevelment, was still disheveled.

Even through the pixelation of a court camera, his hair stuck up oddly as he hunched over his laptop and took notes during the proceedings. However, he was still wearing a suit, trading in his trademark wrinkled T-shirt and cargo shorts for a gray jacket and pants.

After further instructions from Kaplan, 50 potential jurors filed into the courtroom, with another set sent to an overflow room.

Kaplan, often with a sense of humor, slowly wonnows the pool of jurors, asking whether they would be able to be fair and impartial. A number of possible jurors raised their hands and were dismissed, mainly after they heard a brief description of the case.

Jury selection was ongoing on Tuesday, according to a press release.

A potential juror worked at Insight Partners, a venture capital and private equity firm that she said invested in Alameda and FTX.

However, she did not make the investment and said she could impartially weigh evidence presented before her about Bankman-Fried's alleged fraud.

At one point, Kaplan asked whether six weeks of jury duty would present unnecessary hardship for those remaining in the courtroom. One potential juror said his employer would only cover two weeks of pay if he was selected. Another said he's currently unemployed and looking for a new job. So, he said, Taking six weeks out of his job search process would be an undue burden.

Judge Kaplan said the jury selection will end tomorrow.

Update Oct. 3, 2023: Added in quote from the court transcript, decline to comment on the record from Bankman-Fried's spokesperson, and final line about when the jury selection will finish.

October 4, 2023, included a rebuttal from Insight Partners, which states that the firm was only an investor in FTX, not Alameda.