Jury in Sam Bankman-Fried fraud trial set to begin Wednesday

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Jury in Sam Bankman-Fried fraud trial set to begin Wednesday

Opening statements are set to begin Wednesday after a jury selected to hear the fraud trial of FTX cofounder Sam Bankman-Fried in New York City.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan reduced a pool of 45 potential jurors to a jury of 12 with six alternates just before opening statements were set to start at noon. The jury was expected to sit through the duration of the trial, which was planned to last up to six weeks.

Some of Bankman-Fried's close associates are expected to testify at trial, including FTX cofounder Gary Wang and former Alameda Research CEO and Bankman-Fried's on-and-off girlfriend, Caroline Ellison.

Bankman-Fried has denied he is not to blame for the fraud that prosecutors allege in the seven charges brought against him since his arrest in the Bahamas last December.

The court charged the California man, who allegedly defrauded millions of investors and customers in his businesses by siphoning off their money for his own uses, including financing his businesses, buying real estate, and making significant political contributions to try to influence government regulation of cryptocurrency.

Bankman-Fried's defense lawyers have argued that their client had no criminal intent as he became famous in the crypto world while growing FTX and a related business, Alameda Research, into multibillion dollar heavyweights in the cryptocurrency industry.

Bankman-Fried was extradited from the Bahamas to the United States after being arrested.

He was previously under house arrest for nearly eight months, and in August he was jailed after a judge found that he had tried to influence trial witnesses.