DOJ Criticizes Sam Bankman-Fried's 'Invasive' Jury Questionnaire Proposal

Police & Regulations
Sep 16, 2023 at 03:28 pm

In a separate submission, the prosecution has taken measures to arrange the courthouse's technological infrastructure.

The U.S. Department of Justice has raised objections to the proposed jury questions presented by Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, considering them as "excessively probing" and potentially aimed at strengthening his defense.

Both Bankman-Fried and the DOJ have introduced voir dire questions earlier this week. These questions encompassed standard inquiries regarding the familiarity of potential jurors with the case, as well as more specific queries about their associations with individuals who have ADHD. These questions are intended to aid both the prosecution and defense in the process of selecting an impartial and unbiased jury.

According to a letter directed to Judge Lewis Kaplan in the Southern District of New York, the prosecution viewed a number of Bankman-Fried's suggested questions as unduly intrusive. They particularly singled out inquiries delving into the opinions of potential jurors concerning FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange that allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities and experienced a dramatic collapse in November of the preceding year.

"The defense is seeking a range of open-ended questions regarding the perspectives potential jurors hold regarding the case, the defendant, and the defendant’s ventures, and inquires whether potential jurors can 'entirely put aside' their prior knowledge," the letter conveyed. "This is excessively invasive and extends beyond the purview of voir dire."

Queries pertaining to effective altruism—a philosophical stance purportedly held by Sam Bankman-Fried—were not only deemed unnecessary but were also characterized in the letter as "an thinly veiled attempt to advance a defense narrative that the defendant was merely 'accumulating wealth' with the intention to 'better the world.'"

Similarly, the questions related to ADHD, a condition for which Bankman-Fried is medicated, were labeled as "irrelevant and biased."

"The defense is barred from raising a defense related to mental health, and no notice of such a defense was provided by the Court's stipulated deadline," the submission underscored. "Revealing to the jury that the defendant has ADHD would only serve to unfairly depict the defendant in a sympathetic light right from the beginning of the trial."

Trial prep

The prosecution has also raised concerns about the technological arrangement for the trial. They have requested a high-speed ethernet connection, a printer for government use, and headphones for the jury. "This will significantly enhance the effective and efficient presentation of evidence," they affirmed in their communication to Judge Kaplan.

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