Sam Bankman-Fried sports new, neat hairdo as fraud trial kicks off with jury selection

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Accused fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried appeared ready for his close up Tuesday at the start of trial on claims that he stole billions in consumer funds from his cryptocurrency exchange FTX to plug losses at his hedge fund. The former billionaire – known for years for his unkempt, curly locks and de-facto uniform of a T-shirt and cargo shorts – sported a new, neatly coiffed hairdo and a gray suit and striped tie as jury selection in his fraud trial kicked off in Manhattan federal court. At one point in the proceeding, Bankman-Fried, 31, stood up and smiled at prospective jurors, as Judge Lewis Kaplan asked whether any of them recognized the ex crypto golden boy, who is now being held at a Brooklyn jail after his bail in the case was revoked. A prosecutor with US Attorney Damian Williams’s office also revealed that the feds did not have any meaningful discussions with Bankman-Fried about a possible plea deal — despite the indicted mogul facing up to 110 years in prison if he’s convicted on all of the charges he’s facing. Prosecutors also read aloud a list of potential witnesses at the trial – which is expected to last six weeks – including Bankman-Fried’s father and brother and Anthony Scaramucci, former President Donald Trump’s infamously short-lived spokesman who is also a financier whose fund Skybridge Capital once invested in FTX. The judge ended the day with a pool of 50 prospective jurors – from which 12 jurors and six alternates will be selected for the trial. The progress came despite a couple of the possible panelists expressing concern about fairly judging the fallen crypto magnate based on negative dealings with digital currency. One prospective juror, who said she could be impartial, told the court she works for a private equity company, Insight Partners, that invested in SBF’s hedge fund Alameda – prompting Kaplan to ask whether her firm had gained or lost money in the deal. “Lost money,” the woman responded. Another man in the jury pool said he had lost a lot of money after investing in crypto, and that his twin lost so much that “it almost ruined him.” It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether those two jurors were dismissed from the pool. Jury selection is expected to wrap up in the case Wednesday morning, with opening statements to follow.

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