Sam Bankman-Fried Wants to Know If Jurors Lost Money Trading Crypto

Have you ever lost money trading crypto? Where do you stand on amassing wealth to improve the world and help others?

(Bloomberg) — Have you ever lost money trading crypto? Where do you stand on amassing wealth to improve the world and help others?

These are some of the questions FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried wants a judge overseeing his fraud trial to ask jurors before they are selected to decide his guilt or innocence next month. 

The 31-year-old’s lawyers filed a list of proposed jury questions in Manhattan federal court, some of which test a potential juror’s attitudes toward crypto, political donations and “effective altruism.” 

“If a company involved in the cryptocurrency industry or the financial industry fails, do you feel that only the owners of the company must be to blame?” one suggested question stated. 

Bankman-Fried, who previously identified himself as a follower of the philanthropic social movement known as ‘EA’ for short, is accused of orchestrating a multibillion dollar fraud before FTX collapsed last November. Prosecutors allege he siphoned customer funds from the platform to fuel trading at crypto hedge fund Alameda Research, property purchases and charitable and political donations. He has pleaded not guilty.

Bail Revoked

After months living under house arrest in California, Bankman-Fried’s bail was revoked in August when he was accused of attempting to influence two government witnesses. Ever since, the former chief executive officer’s attorneys have complained about his inability to properly prepare for trial — including review legal materials — inside Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. 

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys asked for their client to be released from prison five days a week so he could work on his case. But Judge Kaplan denied the requests Tuesday, saying his lawyers could deliver material on a hard drive to Bankman-Fried instead. 

In the proposed questionnaire, his lawyers would also ask jurors what they’ve read about FTX and Bankman-Fried, if they’ve never traded crypto, if it’s wrong to contribute large amounts of money to political candidates and if they have any experience with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

Read Sam Bankman-Fried’s Proposed Jury Questions Here

Bankman-Fried takes ADHD medication and his lawyers, according to the filing, want the jury to know that the condition can affect “his physical behavior, body language or eye contact.” 

Jury questions are standard practice at the beginning of trials and often give an insight into what issues may emerge in a case. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who has final say on what is asked, will query potential jurors from Manhattan, the Bronx and three suburban counties when Bankman-Fried’s trial kicks off on Oct. 3. 

The judge will exclude people whose answers show they can’t be fair. Then prosecutors and defense attorneys will be given a fixed number of challenges to dismiss jurors they think won’t be favorable. 

Some jurors may raise practical reasons, such as work, travel or family obligations, that would make it too difficult to sit on a jury for weeks on end.

Federal prosecutors proposed their own proposed jury questions on Monday as well, including whether jurors had ever invested in a start-up company or lost money to fraud.

The case is US v. Bankman-Fried, 22 cr 673, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

(Adds that Bankman-Fried must remain in jail starting in sixth paragraph)

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