With less than a month left before Sam Bankman-Fried’s court case is due to begin, DOJ officials have been rushing to put the final touches to their arguments.
Since the outcome will be decided by a jury, the DOJ has spent a while formulating questions for members of the jury to ensure that they are as free of bias as possible.
Prior Interactions With FTX, Startups, and Fraud Cases Are of Interest
According to the document containing the final list of questions for the jury, the most important one for jury members is whether they were – or still are – an investor with ties to the FTX empire. Naturally, an investor who lost funds due to SBF’s unfortunate handling of the exchange’s finances would likely be biased against SBF, which would hinder a fair trial.
Several other questions listed in the document were also to be expected. Among other questions, the court has asked its potential jurors whether a conflict of interest may arise due to previous or current interactions with the US Justice system, or with FTX Group employees and companies, or even with startup companies in general.
Next, members of the juror pool asked whether they had heard about the case and how. The potential jurors were also asked if they were familiar with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in general, at least to an extent.
“Do you have any familiarity with FTX.com or Alameda Research? Are any of you familiar with, or have you had any dealings, directly or indirectly, with FTX, Alameda Research, or their affiliates? Have you invested in cryptocurrency, or digital assets more broadly? Do you have any familiarity with cryptocurrency or digital assets?”
The document also gives a prospective time frame for the resolution of the case, which is expected to last about six weeks.
DOJ Accused of Bias Regarding SBF’s Witnesses
On the other side of the aisle, the DOJ has requested the dismissal of SBF’s expert witnesses, arguing that their testimony would merely confuse the jury due to their opinions, which are “inadmissible hearsay testimony.”
The DOJ has been accused of overreach and unfairness for this attempt by SBF’s legal team. His lawyers have also moved to block the testimony of Professor Peter Easton – an expert witness for the prosecution – a request that has already been countered by the DOJ.
“The defendant’s motion to exclude Professor Easton’s testimony, which seeks total preclusion but is focused on discrete aspects of his testimony, is based on a misreading of the expert’s disclosure, is inconsistent with the case law, and has largely been mooted by the Government’s disclosure of draft exhibits. Professor Easton should be allowed to testify in full.”
SBF is due to stand trial on the 2nd of October, with or without his expert witnesses.