The defense team of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, has raised concerns over the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) proposed juror questions in a late Friday filing. They argue that some of these questions could potentially bias jurors or predispose them to view Bankman-Fried as guilty before the trial begins.
Attorney Mark Cohen, representing the defense, criticized the government’s proposed voir dire, asserting that it discourages full disclosure from potential jurors and fails to uncover potential biases adequately. Cohen noted that omitting the word “allegedly” when describing the crimes Bankman-Fried is accused of could improperly suggest guilt. He also highlighted that certain questions may not reveal if jurors have preconceived notions about the case, such as a predisposition to agree with prosecutors due to their federal government affiliation or financial losses in cryptocurrency.
Furthermore, Cohen objected to a question that sought irrelevant information about potential jurors’ encounters with law enforcement, suggesting that it could improperly exclude jurors based on race.
The DOJ and the defense proposed voir dire questions to the judge on September 11. The DOJ later objected to some of Bankman-Fried’s questions, considering them unnecessarily intrusive and potentially biasing jurors in favor of the defense.
As of the latest update, the court expects jury selection to be relatively swift, lasting up to a day.
In a separate filing earlier on Friday, the defense expressed no objections to the judge granting immunity to two unnamed witnesses. This decision came after Judge Kaplan inquired whether the witnesses would invoke their Fifth Amendment right during a hearing on Thursday.