- The defense and DOJ have submitted their proposed jury instructions for the high-profile case against Sam Bankman-Fried.
- The crux revolves around interpretations of ‘property’, alleged misappropriation of funds, and the concept of ‘effective altruism’.
Jury Instructions: The Battle Between DOJ and Defense
As Sam Bankman-Fried’s federal trial moves forward, Judge Lewis Kaplan finds himself at the crossroads of a pivotal decision. Both the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bankman-Fried’s defense team have put forth their respective versions of jury instructions. The looming question? Which set Judge Kaplan will choose post the conclusion of witness testimonies, or whether he’ll opt for a synthesis of both.
Interpreting the Charges: Similarities and Contrasts
While there are converging requests in the filings, such as urging Judge Kaplan to elaborate on the indictment and clarify the charges, there are significant points of divergence too. Both teams have embedded specific directives reflecting their unique apprehensions regarding the trial, especially in light of varying testimonial interpretations. This filing culminates the series of revised proposals debated upon since the trial’s inception.
The defense’s stance is crystal clear: a witness’s personal views on legalities shouldn’t hold weight in convictions. “A witness’s stated feeling or belief as to what the law should or should not have prohibited is not sufficient to convict anyone of any charge,” their filing emphasized. Instead, the defense urges a methodical breakdown to the elemental levels, assessing proof beyond reasonable doubt for each element before reaching a unanimous verdict.
However, the prosecution is bent on eliminating any rationale linking Bankman-Fried’s actions with FTX and Alameda to altruistic endeavors. Their objective? To assert unequivocally that Bankman-Fried allegedly diverted customer and investor resources for personal gain. The DOJ’s paperwork points to the defendant’s public statements endorsing ‘effective altruism’, arguing that such altruistic intentions don’t serve as a shield against fraud or other criminal allegations.
A bone of contention between the two factions is the very definition of ‘property’. The defense urges Kaplan to elucidate that ‘property’ excludes intangible interests—a perspective the DOJ robustly challenges. They counter by pinpointing areas in the defense’s proposal that, according to the prosecution, don’t genuinely counteract the charges they’ve pressed.
With courtroom proceedings paused, all eyes are set on October 26th when the next chapter of this high-stakes legal saga unfolds.