NEW YORK, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Sam Bankman-Fried’s father and brother and former Donald Trump spokesman Anthony Scaramucci could be witnesses in the cryptocurrency exchange founder’s fraud trial, according to a list read by a lawyer in court. tuesday
There is no guarantee that Scaramucci, Bankman-Fried’s father Joseph Bankman or her brother Gabriel Bankman-Fried will testify during the trial, which is expected to last six weeks.
Prosecutor Daniel Sassoon read off a list of dozens of names — which included both proposed prosecution and defense witnesses — to see if any prospective jurors knew them.
Scaramucci’s alternative investment firm Skybridge Capital once held a stake in FTX, the Bankman-Fried cryptocurrency exchange that declared bankruptcy in November 2022 amid a flurry of customer withdrawals.
Federal prosecutors say Bankman-Fried defrauded FTX clients from its inception in 2019 until its bankruptcy in 2019 to prop up his hedge fund Alameda Research, buy luxury properties and donate more than $100 million to U.S. political candidates.
At the start of the proceedings, U.S. District Judge Louis Kaplan told the 31-year-old former billionaire that whether or not to testify in his own defense would ultimately be his decision, and asked Bankman-Fried if she understood.
“Yes,” Bankman-Fried replied. He wore a suit and striped tie, his signature curly, messy hair cut into a neat trim.
He stood and smiled for prospective jurors after Kaplan asked him to stand up to see if they knew him personally.
During the hours-long trial, Kaplan excused 28 jurors, saying they could not serve on the case, many due to professional or personal commitments. He said jury selection would be completed by the end of the day, paving the way for Wednesday’s opening statements.
A prospective juror said the firm they worked for, Inside Partners, had lost money on investments in FTX and Alameda, but believed they could decide the case “based on the facts.” Although further hearings were expected later in the afternoon, the jury was not dismissed.
Insight Partners, a technology-focused venture capital firm, invested in FTX in 2019, according to private market data provider Pitchbook. The company said it was not an investor in Alameda. The now-defunct fund is owned by Bankman-Fried and former FTX executive Gary Wang, court filings show.
Earlier, prosecutor Nicholas Rouse said the two sides had not been in talks about a possible plea deal and that no such offer had been made to Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. He admitted to adequate risk management but denied stealing funds. His attorneys have signaled in court documents that they plan to argue that FTX’s handling of customer funds was correct and that FTX and others in Alameda bore much of the blame for their failure.
The trial will also feature testimony from three former members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys plan to challenge the credibility of those witnesses — who include former Alameda president Carolyn Ellison and former FTX executives Gary Wang and Nishad Singh — by arguing they were motivated to frame their client in order to receive a lesser sentence. Strategy in White Collar Fraud Cases.
They laid the groundwork for Banker-Fried to argue that his exchange was allowed to invest customers’ deposits, and that business failures — not intentional fraud — left the exchange. Without sufficient funds to fulfill withdrawal requests.
Bankman-Fried has been in custody since Aug. 11 after a judge found she may have engaged in witness tampering — including sharing Ellison’s personal writings with a reporter. Ellison and Bankman-Fried were former romantic partners.
He is brought to court early on most days to allow him to prepare with his lawyers.
(This story was reprinted to include Bankman-Fried’s name in paragraph 4)
Reporting by Jodi Godoi and Luke Cohen in New York; Editing by Amy Stevens, Lincoln Feist and Nick Zieminski
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