Prosecutors say plea deal was never considered for Sam Bankman-Fried Prosecutors say plea deal was never considered for Sam Bankman-Fried

Prosecutors say plea deal was never considered for Sam Bankman-Fried

Unlike some of his associates, who have pled guilty in exchange for leniency, Bankman-Fried received no such offers.

Prosecutors say plea deal was never considered for Sam Bankman-Fried

Cointelegraph / CC BY 3.0 / Wikimedia. Remixed by CryptoSlate

On the opening day of  Sam Bankman-Fried‘s criminal trial in New York,  U.S. government prosecutors told the court that that no plea deals had ever been under consideration for the accused former CEO.

According to a partial transcript live-tweeted by Inner City Press, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Roos said on behalf of the government:

“We raised the issue early if there should be plea discussions. The answer was no, so there have been no plea offers.”

Judge Lewis Kaplan then asked the defense whether the prosecutor’s account was accurate. Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, confirmed that there had been no such offer.

A plea deal, had one been offered, might have allowed Bankman-Fried to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence or dropped charges. However, in the absence of such an offer, Bankman-Fried has maintained a not guilty plea in response to the indictments filed over the past several months

The decision against a plea offer is particularly significant given that some of Bankman-Fried’s former associates, namely Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh, have received and agreed to plea deals. These individuals are now widely expected to testify as witnesses during the trial.

Jury selection highlights conflicts of interest

The remainder of the trial’s opening day largely focused on jury selection as Judge Kaplan searched for possible conflicts of interest among jurors.

Notably, a number of jurors said that they were familiar with the case, including one individual who said that he had learned about FTX through the podcaster Joe Rogan. One juror said that his company had lost money investing in FTX and Alameda Research.

Two jurors stated that they or a family member invested in cryptocurrency and lost money, and one juror said that he has felt negatively about crypto since he learned about it. Another juror said that she once worked for Signature Bank, a now-collapsed bank that at one point provided services to Bankman-Fried’s FTX empire.

Certain jurors were dismissed from the case. The judge also instructed jurors not to share or post information about proceedings and told jurors to stay away from coverage.

As stated by Judge Kaplan during the proceedings, the trial is projected to last for about six weeks, possibly concluding in mid-November.

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