Sep 18, 2023

The U.S. Department of Justice argues FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s proposed jury questions are “unnecessarily intrusive” and may be intended to support his defense, according to a letter written by prosecutors to Judge Lewis Kaplan, of the Southern District of New York.

Video transcript

The state of crypto is presented by Tron connecting the world to the power of Cryptocurrency. The US Justice Department is blasting the jury questions proposed by FTX founder Sam Beckman Free. Joining us now to discuss is Coindesk global policy and regulation, managing editor Nick Day, who is also the editor of Coindesk. Absolutely positively must read State of crypto newsletter. Good morning, Nick. Hey, good morning. So, um how uh how the question Sam Beckman Fried was asking, give, give us some ideas that uh uh what do you want to ask here? Right. So these are proposed questions. Both the doj and the defense team published uh their own set or shared their own set with the judge. Uh Basically, they're meant to try and filter out potential jurors to get rid of anyone who might be, you know, biased from the beginning of the trial or who might otherwise be unsuitable to be a juror in this uh trial for Bank of Fried. Uh when that kicks off next month. Now, Bank of Fried's team, uh in addition to, you know, some standard questions about, you know, were you familiar with FTX et cetera? Also asked or proposed asking a number of questions that really went, you know, in the Do J's view far too deeply into, you know, how aware they were of FTX and crypto, how, where they were of some of these other things. And then, you know, also to the uh what the DOJ said is, you know, not right. The defense asked a number of questions about effective altruism and political donations and lobbying that they felt were really trying to kind of, you know, prime the uh potential jurors to uh you know, basically prime them on the defense, what the defense plans to argue. And so they said that, you know, those questions are also inappropriate. Do, do we have any specific exam? What, what are your, did, did you see any of the questions yourself? Any fun questions that uh may have been asked? Yeah. No. So these questions were, you know, shared uh about early last week, actually, about a week ago and a lot of them were just kind of, you know, uh do you think, or how do you feel about, you know, raising money to donate it or how do you feel about, uh you know, political donations, things like that? So, you know, you can kind of see how uh the way those are phrased, you know, could be seen as leading the potential jurors, right? Uh It's not a question of, you know, how do you feel about massive sums of money? Being raised or whatever, it's just straight up like, you know, how do you feel about this particular action that by the way happens to be, uh, you know, the philosophy that the effect of altruism movement abides by or claims to abide by. So coin desk. Yeah, exactly. Nick, we gotta keep it quick or I'm gonna get in trouble. But, uh, we've spoken about a lot of what's happening here as, you know, maybe preparing for an appeal once the trial is done, do these questions maybe point towards um Sam's team preparing for some kind of appeal argument. I, I think the questions uh that were proposed are just more of the, you know, preparation for the actual trial. Um You know, we have now about two weeks. The first thing that's gonna happen on October 3rd is jury selection that is going to be incredibly important for, you know, both the prosecution and the defense. I think the defense is gonna try and do whatever it can to find potential jurors who are going to, if not, you know, think that Sam is completely innocent, at least be somewhat more sympathetic to why he might have done the things he is accused of doing. Uh instead of people who are just gonna be like, oh wow, like this guy's into crypto and $8 billion disappeared, he's gotta be guilty, right? The defense wants to avoid that kind of person at all costs.

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