Disgraced crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried's trial has kicked off with jury selection, which could continue into Wednesday.
"With luck and a strong wind at our back we may finish today," Judge Lewis Kaplan told the court. "If not, tomorrow morning."
The FTX founder appeared in court with freshly shorn hair, wearing a gray suit and patterned tie. For most of the hearing, Bankman-Fried sat before a laptop scrolling through court documents. He kept his hands on the laptop even when peering over his shoulder at prospective jurors or conferring with the four attorneys sat by his side.
Assistant U.S. attorney Nick Roos said that a plea deal was never offered toBankman-Fried, which his legal team then confirmed.
Approximately 200 people were summoned for jury selection, but just 12 will ultimately be selected to hear the trial.
By 11 a.m. ET, Judge Kaplan asked the jurors if there was anything about the nature of the case that would make it difficult for them to be fair. After several people raised their hands, at least 10 people were dismissed.
One of the jurors announced that he'd heard about Sam Bankman-Fried on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Some U.S. states have banned jurors from being named but in New York, the press is permitted to do so. (Although in some sensitive cases where there may be a risk to the safety of the jury members, their identity can be withheld.)
Others were excused for weddings, medical appointments, travel for work, and one—who said he is a commodities trader—said a 6-week trial would be too disruptive to his job.
Judge Kaplan: In the back? The man in the white T-shirt? Please tell me your name.
TImothy "Lohort" (phonetic)
also, Lewis DeCaro
Medea Kashamani (phonetic)
Judge Kaplan: I'm looking for your name
Voice: It's 33
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) October 3, 2023
Ex-CEO and co-founder of collapsed crypto giant FTX Bankman-Fried—better known as SBF—faces seven criminal charges, including wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering.
Once one of the biggest and famous crypto brands, FTX and its related entities quickly and unexpectedly went bankrupt in November of last year.
Bankman-Fried was then arrested in December in Nassau, Bahamas, and extradited to the States. He pleaded not guilty to all charges on January 3.
Billions of dollars in customer cash disappeared and the exchange’s new management now is working to pay back creditors.
Bankman-Fried's case is expected to last about six weeks.