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Jury Selection Completed in Sam Bankman-Fried Trial

Jury selection has been completed in the criminal fraud trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the co-founder of FTX cryptocurrency exchange. 

The trial, which began Tuesday (Oct. 3) in Manhattan federal court, will determine whether Bankman-Fried is guilty of using billions of dollars in customer deposits for speculative trading, luxury real estate purchases and political contributions, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (Oct. 4). He has pleaded not guilty.

The jury consists of nine women and three men, with six alternates also sworn in, according to the report.

During the jury selection, members of the pool who were excused from serving included a managing director at a tech-focused private equity firm and a candidate who said he could not be impartial because he had negative feelings about crypto, the report said.

Among those who were selected to serve on the jury are a retired investment banker, a physician assistant, an unemployed social worker, a train conductor, a pediatric nurse, and a man who didn’t say what he did for work but mentioned that his company is being sued by another company, per the report.

Also on the jury are a woman who sits on the board of a non-profit, a woman working for a school, a retired corrections officer, a U.S. Postal Service worker, an advertising worker and a special education teacher, according to the report.

The criminal trial kicked off on Tuesday morning with voir dire questioning about the various qualifications of the potential jurors by Judge Lewis Kaplan, but by the end of the day the jury had not yet been filled, PYMNTS reported Tuesday.

Of the 50 qualified jurors selected from the larger group, there still needed to be 18 selected: a dozen jurors and half-a-dozen alternates. On Tuesday, Kaplan allowed one potential juror to recuse herself because her own wedding was upcoming.

It was also reported Tuesday that jurors in the trial may not be familiar with cryptocurrencies, and that both the prosecution and the defense may use that lack of knowledge to their advantage. On the other hand, some legal experts said that this case involving crypto is not much different from a traditional fraud trial.