With the criminal trial of former CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried scheduled to begin in October, the process of juror selection is now underway.
The federal prosecutors have accused lawyers of the disgraced crypto mogul of trying to influence the potential jurors in the case unfairly.
On Friday, prosecutors for the Southern District of New York submitted a filing in which they asked the judge presiding over the case to turn down the line of questioning for voir dire that the defense had proposed.
The purpose is to conduct a preliminary examination of potential jurors. According to the prosecutors, the questions from the defense would extend the selection process and could lead to bias towards their client.
They said that the proposed voir dire from the defendant comprises a number of time-consuming and unnecessary questions that are argumentative, prejudicial, and repetitive.
They also added that some of the questions also require open-ended discussions. The proposed questions had been submitted by the defense and the prosecutors last Monday.
These questions are to be put forward in front of potential jurors for the trial. There was some overlap in the questions related to connections of jurors to any side, or if they have already made up their minds.
The lawyers representing SBF have proposed a set of open-ended questions and the prosecutors have issues with them because they were about jurors ignoring coverage of the case if they are chosen.
According to the government, such questioning is highly intrusive and prior knowledge of the matter is not disqualifying.
One question was specifically rejected by the prosecutors that asked if the jurors believe the government is one step ahead and if SBF is starting a bit behind in the case.
The prosecutors asserted that it was inappropriate for the lawyers to suggest that the government was at an advantage because of the press coverage due to which they should have a higher burden of proof.
They said that this question was unsuitable because the defendant himself had played an active role in using the said press coverage, both before and after he had been arrested.
Last week, a journalist leaked Sam Bankman-Fried’s writings regarding his situation in which he claimed that he was one of the world’s most hated people.
He had further written that he could not possibly do anything that would make his life’s impact net positive.
The prosecutors also had problems with the questions about effective altruism that SBF had reportedly practiced as well as his ADHD diagnosis.
Prosecutors said that the lawyers were using effective altruism as a defense to claim that their client had been amassing wealth to improve the world.
As far as the ADHD diagnosis is concerned, they said that the purpose was to cast their client in a ‘sympathetic light’ before the trial started.
It should be noted that SBF’s attorneys have also taken issues with the conduct of the government before the beginning of the trial on October 6th.