Early Thursday evening, the U.S. Department of Justice and Bankman-Fried’s defense team submitted their filings of a proposed jury instruction, which they hope Judge Kaplan will accept when witness evidence is finished in the upcoming weeks. 

When he advises the jury on the statutes pertaining to the seven accusations Bankman-Fried is facing, the judge can adopt either suggestion or settle on a middle ground. 

The Conflicting Nature of The Briefs

The proposed jury instruction submitted by the U.S. Department of Justice emphasizes the gravity of the accusations and seeks to establish a strong case against Bankman-Fried. 

On the other hand, Bankman-Fried’s defense team’s filing aims to provide alternative interpretations of the statutes, highlighting potential inconsistencies in the prosecution’s argument. 

Ultimately, Judge Kaplan will carefully consider both suggestions before deciding on the most appropriate jury instruction. 

The Similarity In Briefs

There are similarities between the submissions, such as the requests that the court explain the charges and examine the indictment.

The various legal teams also offered detailed directions about their unique concerns regarding the case and how the jury could have received particular testimonies. The final amended set of proposals, which the parties have argued since before the trial started, were filed on Thursday.

Brief By The Defence 

The brief submitted by the defense states, “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 ….. You are to break it down to the elements, assess whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt as to each of those elements, and then, with that determination made, you can render a unanimous verdict.”

The defense’s petition asked Kaplan to clarify how “property” “does not include intangible interests,” which the DOJ expressly disagreed with.

Brief By The Prosecutors 

As for the prosecutors want the judge to make it clear to the jury that the DOJ is alleging Bankman-Fried has taken customer and investor funds and misappropriated them for personal use. They want to end any argument that Bankman-Fried’s actions surrounding FTX and Alameda were tied to charitable giving.

The Prosecuting Department of Justice’s brief stated, “The defendant has in certain public statements emphasized his philosophy of so-called ‘effective altruism’ to argue that his business decisions were motivated by a desire to do good in the world… As courts have repeatedly recognized, such arguments are not a defense to fraud or other criminal charges.”

Similar to the defense’s brief, the DOJ filing claimed that other suggested paragraphs in the defense file were not factual defenses to the accusations made by the prosecution.

The court’s business was suspended on Thursday and will resume on October 26.

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