Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyer challenges US gov’t proposed jury questions

The lawyer representing Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the now-defunct exchange FTX, has claimed that the proposed jury questions for the upcoming fraud trial might introduce bias and have the potential to elicit biased responses.

In a court filing on September 29, lawyer Mark Cohen, representing Bankman-Fried, contends that the jury questions presented by the US government for the upcoming trial contain loopholes that could result in an unfair trial for Bankman-Fried.

“The Government’s proposed voir dire discourages full disclosure from potential jurors, fails to elicit sufficient information to allow the defense to ascertain potential juror bias, and risks tainting the jury by presenting the allegations in a prejudicial manner.”

Court filing in the United States Southern District of New York. Source: Court Listener

Cohen stresses the importance of the court reminding potential jurors that Bankman-Fried is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

He also argues that the language used in the jury selection questions already portrays a biased image, presuming Bankman-Fried’s guilt in fraud and money laundering.

“In particular, by referring to “his fraud,” rather than “his alleged fraud” or simply “fraud,” the final sentence in paragraph 3 improperly suggests that fraud by Mr. Bankman-Fried is an established fact.”

Furthermore, Cohen argued that the court should use the voir dire proposed by Bankman-Fried.

On September 15, Cointelegraph reported that the US government opposed his proposed questions, declaring them unnecessary and time-consuming.

Specifically, it objects to the Bankman-Fried’s questions concerning pretrial publicity, the effective altruism philosophical movement, political donations and lobbying, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Related: FTX founder’s plea for temporary release should be denied, prosecution says

Jury selection will commence on October 3, preceding the trial’s start on October 4.

According to a recently released trial calendar, there will be 15 full trial days in October and another six in November.

Bankman-Fried has been serving pre-trial detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center since August 11.

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