Despite a slight delay, the trial of two individuals tied to the now-defunct bitcoin exchange Coin.mx has commenced.
Reuters reports that representatives for Yuri Lebedev, one of the operators of the failed exchange, and Trevon Gross, a pastor who once ran a credit union allegedly involved in the scheme, portrayed their clients as unwitting accomplices, pointing the finger largely at Anthony Murgio, who plead guilty to several charges in January.
Coin.mx was a bitcoin exchange based in Florida which operated as a so-called “Collectible’s Club”. The government has alleged that Coin.mx used this structure to obscure its exchange activities, asserting that the service was leveraged as part of a broader cybercrime ring tied to a series of 2014 hackings, including one attack on Wall Street giant JPMorgan.
The trial was delayed briefly during jury selection after the prosecution pushed for a new witness. That request was ultimately denied by Judge Alison Nathan.
During opening remarks, attorneys for the federal government highlighted the bribe allegedly given to Gross, who was charged last month.
"The bribes and lies had a simple, shared purpose: For the defendants Lebedev and Gross and their co-conspirators to make money," Assistant U.S. Attorney Won Shin was quoted as saying.
By contrast, attorneys for Gross and Lebedev argued that their clients largely didn’t know what they were getting into.
“Yuri was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people,” Eric Creizman, who is representing Lebedev in the case, told the jury.
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