Once acclaimed as the crypto monarch of America, Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX will confront allegations of engineering one of the nation’s largest financial deceptions in a trial set for today. The FTX CEO has recently sued its insurance provider CNA. Also, before the trial, SBF’s lawyers requested the court to block testimony from FTX users. The judge assured that FTX CEO won’t face a death penalty in this case.
SBF Files Lawsuit Against CNA
Sam Bankman-Fried has initiated a lawsuit against his insurer, CNA, accusing them of neglecting to cover legal expenses associated with his defense against fraud accusations.
Despite pleading not guilty to the fraud charges imposed by U.S. prosecutors, with the trial commencing Tuesday, the legal grievance lodged against CNA reveals his entanglement in an array of civil and regulatory proceedings related to his defunct cryptocurrency exchange, FTX.
CNA, alternatively known as the Continental Casualty Company, is accused of failing to promptly pay Mr. Bankman-Fried’s claims, causing ‘substantial and irreparable harm,’ per legal filings. The documents highlight the escalating legal costs for Bankman-Fried, with his CNA policy, capping at $5 million, activated after an initial $10 million policy is used, especially following FTX’s bankruptcy in November 2022.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) legal team contested pre-trial motions from prosecutors. They opposed requests for FTX customers and investors to testify about their expectations of the cryptocurrency exchange’s asset management and sought to prevent a former FTX user, an unnamed Ukrainian, from testifying via live video, partially citing Sixth Amendment grounds. The defense criticized the prosecutors’ attempts to block similar defense witnesses and labeled the motion as ‘premature,’ asserting that the jury should evaluate the matter.
Lawyers argued that allowing the Ukrainian witness to testify could unfairly sway the jury by referencing personal hardships and challenges caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which has disrupted international travel and imposed ongoing threats in various parts of the country.
Judge Kaplan Initiates Jury Selection In Bankman-Fried’s Fraud Trials
Sam Bankman-Fried’s fraud trial commenced with the selection of jurors, almost a year following the startling collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange, which plunged markets and damaged his reputation. FTX founder’s trial involves over 50 potential jurors and approximately 40 reporters. The initial session focused on evaluating jurors for a six-week trial, addressing hardships, and identifying conflicts, with no jurors chosen by press time.
One potential juror, indirectly linked to Bankman-Fried’s businesses, wasn’t dismissed before lunch, even after expressing an inability to deliver a guilty verdict in a hypothetical death penalty scenario, which the judge clarified was not applicable in this case.
Since Judge Kaplan denied his bail in August, former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried remains largely jailed, despite attempts at temporary release. He has pleaded not guilty to 12 fraud-related charges, facing trials in October 2023 and March 2024.