On October 3, 2023, Sam Bankman-Fried’s eagerly awaited trial as co-founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX is scheduled to start. The legal dispute has taken an intriguing turn as the start of the trial approaches.
Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s defense attorney, has objected to the jury selection procedure and is particularly against the questions that the prosecution has suggested. News has it that the trial is scheduled to run for six weeks. It is also revealed that the first stage of this process will be accountable for assessing the case if the jury has commenced the selection procedure.
Cohen’s Defense Insist inquiries have inherent biases
On September 11, both the prosecution and the defense provided their separate lists of questions for prospective jurors. Cohen’s main defense is insisting that these inquiries have inherent biases that may result in an unfavorable verdict against his client.
According to Cohen’s legal brief, many of the suggested questions appear to be biased toward a presumption of guilt rather than an innocent unless proven guilty, which he remarked is the cornerstone of a fair trial. Sam Fried will be facing a 100-year jail term if proven guilty of all the 7-count charges of fraud. The trial will officially commence 4th of October, 2023 immediately after the jury selection on the 3rd of October.
Fried’s Legal Team Recommends Fair Trial, Experts Wades In
Commenting on this development, Cointelegraph’s Ciaran Lyons has added that “in addition to being a fundamental principle of the American legal system, a fair trial is crucial in any case that has the potential to have significant legal ramifications for the cryptocurrency business.”
Legal analyst Lisa Mitchell commented, “In any trial, the jury’s impartiality is crucial. Making sure the jurors don’t have any predetermined biases is essential when the charges and the defendant are as popular as they are in this instance.” Currently, the court will consider the suggested jury questions as it determines whether Cohen’s objections call for any changes or clarifications.
He asserts that by asking these questions, potential jurors may be predisposed to dislike Bankman-Fried before hearing the testimony given during the trial. The letter presented by Cohen and his team reads that “we must make sure that the jury selection process is fair and impartial.”
Fried’s Attorney Faults Government Proposed Question, Says It’s Irrelevant
Mark Cohen has insisted that the anticipated jury questions by the government are irrelevant and will fail to achieve its purpose of (what he termed) “a voir dire in many respects.” Explaining the term, Opeyemi Sule from the Bitcoinist platform said Voir dire describes an important legal method lawyers deploy while defending their client’s rights to a trial by a fair judiciary.
Barr. Cohen has also argued that the preferred language used in the prosecutor’s anticipated question is trying to paint his client in an extremely prejudiced light. He cited some of these questions as referring to his client as “fraud” instead of “his accused fraud.” He also cited the final sentence contained in paragraph 3, which he claimed improperly suggested that the fraud his client was accused of is a fact.
Sam Fried’s lawyers have also argued that the government will use the word “improperly” in their proposed questions to “instruct jurors.” Sam’s legal team wrote the letter to the court that “the assertions contained in the proposed questions are irrelevant and prejudicial to gather the right information about the proposed juror bias.”
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