Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer (CLO) Paul Grewal has weighed in on what to expect in the jury selection in the trial of the former CEO of the defunct crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), which is set to take place on October 3.
FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried Jury Selection Should Be Quick
Grewal noted that the voir dire proceedings have generally improved over time, as in the past, the process could drag on for days.
As such, he expects Sam Bankman-Fried’s jury selection to “move quick” as the court while trying to ensure a fair trial, also ensures not to waste the time of prospective jurors.
The jury selection for SBF’s trial is expected to last just a day (October 3) as, according to the trial calendar, the trial is set to officially commence on October 4, with the prosecution set to open its case on that day.
As part of the voir dire proceedings, both parties will question the potential jurors to determine their competency and identify any bias that could influence their decision. However, Grewal doesn’t expect Judge Lewis Kaplan, the judge in charge of Sam Bankman-Fried’s case, to be a mere bystander as he noted that federal judges “exercise a much hand over questioning” than their state counterparts.
According to him, these judges don’t just “hand over” the process to the lawyers because they understand that both parties aren’t looking for a fair jury but one that can help them win.
It is worth mentioning that Grewal has judicial experience as he was once a US magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. During his time as a judge, he picked 35 juries, although they were in civil matters, unlike this, which is a criminal one.
The Jury And Its Composition
Sam Bankman-Fried’s jury is expected to comprise 12 jurors from all walks of life. They will be required to give a verdict on each of the defendant’s charges (SBF is being charged with seven counts of fraud-related charges). This verdict will be unanimous, with all jurors participating in it.
As regards the jury composition, Grewal noted that it was “critical to a fair outcome.” However, he stated that prosecutors prefer their case to depend on “damning evidence” rather than the juror makeup. A plausible reason could be that certain biases could exist depending on who the jury consists of, unlike damning evidence that can hardly be refuted.
The legal expert seems to be one of those foreseeing a conviction, as he added that there was no shortage of “damning evidence in this case” as Sam Bankman-Fried faces a statutory maximum sentence of 110 years if found guilty of all charges.