On the afternoon of 2nd November 2023, a momentous event happened in the courtroom during the FTX trial, marking a notable moment in the US legal history. Around 03:00 pm, the jurors, alongside the judge, concluded deliberations over one of the most notorious fraud cases the country has seen, with a guilty verdict against Sam Bankman-Fried.
The unanimous guilty verdict was a collective decision by the twelve jurors, all New Yorkers, who found Bankman-Fried guilty of all seven charges leveled against him. Following the jury’s verdict, the judge commended their service. Deliberations began shortly after 3 p.m. ET, and by 7:40 p.m., a consensus had been reached.
The Courtroom Scene:
Upon the reading of the verdict, the courtroom witnessed a stoic Bankman-Fried, urged by the judge to face the jury. Meanwhile, the jurors were directed to focus their attention on the judge and court clerk. The gravity of the moment was palpable, more so with Bankman-Fried’s parents in attendance, who maintained a composed demeanor throughout. As the verdict was announced, his father, Joseph Bankman, sat with his head in his lap while his mother, Barbara Fried, remained upright, her gaze fixed ahead.
A sentencing date has been set for 28th March 2024, where Bankman-Fried could potentially face up to 115 years in prison, reflecting the severity of the fraud perpetrated. Following the verdict, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams emphasized outside the courthouse that Bankman-Fried orchestrated one of the most substantial financial frauds in American history, underscoring a narrative of corruption and deception extending back thousands of years.
In light of the verdict, an appeal seems forthcoming. Defense lawyer Mark Cohen shared that while Bankman-Fried respects the jury’s decision, he continues to assert his innocence and is poised to “vigorously fight the charges.”
The courtroom narrative concluded with a poignant scene – Bankman-Fried, upon the judge’s exit, stood and engaged in a brief discussion with his attorneys before heading towards the exit. Only then did he turn towards the viewing gallery, offering a nod, a half-smile, and a blink to his parents, who were seen consoling each other, capturing the emotional weight carried by all involved in this landmark case.