Historic civil trial Kleiman vs Wright began its first day of proceedings in a Miami federal court on Monday, November 1, 2021. At stake is the 1.1 million Bitcoin worth nearly $65 billion, which only the creator–Satoshi Nakamoto–could have mined.
Kleiman vs Wright, the lawsuit
Contrary to popular belief, plaintiff Ira Kleiman and his army of lawyers are not questioning the idea of Craig creating Bitcoin; what is in question and the primary reason for the lawsuit is whether Craig and Ira’s deceased brother David Kleiman worked together on the project and had a legal partnership in which they created Bitcoin together as Satoshi Nakamoto.
Day 1, jury and attorneys
Day 1 of the trial started with the obligatory jury selection which was somewhat uneventful as explained by CoinGeek journalist and Bitcoin Historian Kurt Wuckert Jr. There were several potential candidates that were recused for one reason or another by both sides. Ultimately, a jury was selected in relatively short order with what might be a surprising number of juror candidates that have a fair knowledge of digital assets.
“It was really interesting to see how many people had some connection in the Bitcoin economy. And the thing that really stood out, there were nine people out of 30 that either had some investment, some stake in blockchain assets or crypto”.
Kurt shared in his video livestream after the first day of court proceedings.
While day 1 was thought to end with jury selection, opening statements in fact kicked off the late afternoon proceedings. Kleiman’s lead attorney Kyle Rosche gave a fiery speech to the jury that led those in attendance to believe David was indeed a legal business partner of Craig in creating Bitcoin, that partnership being W&K Info Defense Research, LLC, and that Craig was lying about this partnership not existing and essentially stealing the assets from David’s estate.
In contrast to the finger-pointing speech given by Rosche, Wright’s defense team started out with Amanda McGovern painting a picture of both Wright and Kleiman being true friends that shared a lot in common over their long friendship. She did agree that they shared a passion and worked together on some projects in the cyber security field. McGovern pointed out there has never been any agreement or partnership between the two with regards to the actual creation of Bitcoin.
Expect to see fireworks, drama, twists, and turns throughout the duration of this historic Bitcoin trial, which is slated to conclude before the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, according to presiding judge Beth Bloom of the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida.
Day 2: Defense Comes Hard at Bitcoin ‘Expert’
The second day of the Kleiman vs Wright trial comes to a close at a brisk pace, and the defense has painted a clear picture of what the trial is about by coming hard at the first two expert witnesses during cross examination.
The picture painted is that technical entrepreneur and author Andreas Antonopoulos is not a Bitcoin expert who can determine the price of BTC as it pertains to the potential settlement for the case and that there is no legal or written document that can act as evidence that Dr. Wright and David Kleiman were co-authors of the Bitcoin white paper.
Antonopoulos’ testimony, which started on Day 1 of the trial, continued on the second day. He has been established by the plaintiff as a Bitcoin expert who wrote “the world’s most cited book on Bitcoin,” and all of his credentials were listed for about 20 minutes, even including being paid more than $700 per hour for consultation services.
However, defense counsel Andres Rivero pointed out that this is the first time that Antonopoulos is called in as an expert witness at a federal court, noting that maybe he is not qualified to be considered a real “Bitcoin expert” as he cannot determine the price of BTC as he is not even an economist. He said:
“Are you even in the top 1,000 experts here, or are you just a well-paid public speaker?”.
What stands out the most is that Rivero points out that there is even a possibility that Rosche is in collusion with Antonopoulos in providing what appears to be a rehearsed and fake expert testimony.
“There was an implication that there was perhaps some corruption with the firm in that Antonopoulos used his perhaps unearned reputation to write a letter of recommendation about Kyle Rosche, which then got Kyle Rosche a new big client. And then, Antonopoulos would participate in that new big client stuff. So, it was like. ‘Are you guys a giant, corrupt cabal of fake experts and litigious trolls?”.
Said Wuckert, who was allowed in the courtroom to cover the trial, recounted.
Patrick Paige’s Characterization of David Kleiman as an Operating Agreement Kind of Guy
Patrick Paige, David Kleiman’s best friend and business partner who remained close to the former until his death, is the second witness called to the stand. Paige’s testimony is able to establish his close relationship with Kleiman, which started when both were in the police force, and that the latter told the former everything. However, Paige testified that Kleiman never mentioned Bitcoin to his best friend.
Rivero is also able to provide a clear picture of Kleiman as a meticulous guy who even had his best friend sign a lengthy operating agreement when they set up their computer forensics firm.
Q: Dave was your partner – did you have an operating agreement?
Q: Did this include percentage of ownership, profit, intellectual property, et cetera?
Q: Your best friend made you sign an operating agreement?
The holes in the plaintiff’s arguments are emerging. If Kleiman is an operating agreement kind of guy who told his best friend everything, why did he not mention Bitcoin at all to his best friend? And why did Kleiman not sign an operating agreement when he set up a company that is mining digital money?
It must also be noted that Ira Kleiman has previously sued Paige because he believed at the time that Paige was in possession of David Kleiman’s coins, which shows just how uncertain his knowledge is about his brother’s affairs. While this historic trial is obviously about money from the get go, it seems that Ira Kleiman is just weaving a fairytale so he could get his hands on billions of dollars.