Roche Freedman Crypto Leaks video with dark textured background

Judge rejects report that Roche Freedman Crypto Leaks videos were doctored

A judge has denied an attempt by disgraced attorney Kyle Roche to introduce an expert report which purports to cast doubt on the authenticity of leaked videos implicating Roche and his former firm Roche Freedman in engaging in sham litigation to harass client competitors.

The report was rejected because it was handed in months past the court deadline for new expert evidence and the court found Kyle Roche’s justification—that it only occurred to him to have the leaked videos analyzed mere weeks ago—was self-evidently implausible.

Cyrulnik vs Roche Freedman

The leaked videos have become a central part of the firm’s dispute with ex-partner Jason Cyrulnik. Cyrulnik is accusing his former co-partners of colluding to oust him from the firm in order to avoid paying out his share of a client fee.

The videos were originally released by Crypto Leaks in August 2022. They show Kyle Roche, who is founding partner of firm Roche Freedman, bragging that his firm uses straw plaintiffs to engage in lawsuits against individuals and companies within the digital asset industry in order to gain insider knowledge and harass the competitors of one of the firm’s own digital asset clients Ava Labs, in which Roche Freedman partners have a financial stake.

Last November, Cyrulnik successfully convinced the court to allow the deposition of Christen Ager-Hanssen, who was on the other end of the filmed Crypto Leaks conversations with Roche. According to Cyrulnik, Ager-Hanssen is willing to testify that Roche admitted to him that the allegations contained in Cyrulnik’s suit are true.

Now, in something of a strategic 180, Roche is trying to suggest that the conversations captured in the Crypto Leaks footage never happened in the first place.

To prove this, Roche wanted to submit an expert report in his defense against Cyrulnik. The expert report is from David Kalat, director at Berkley Research Group which provides expert testimony and data analytics to firms around the world. Though the report acknowledges the limitations of analyzing highly compressed videos taken directly from the Crypto Leaks website, it nonetheless points to moments in the video which have been cut and segments of audio which have been manipulated—such as by obscuring the voice of the other participants to the conversation—in order to conclude that they are the ‘subject of manipulation.’ Adjacent to this, the report also gives an overview of the current state of ‘deep-fake’ technology and says that though there is no evidence pointing to the technology being used in this video, it can’t be ruled out, either.

The report is underwhelming as a refutation of the Crypto Leaks videos, particularly given that this is the first time either Kyle Roche or Roche Freedman have suggested that the filmed conversations never took place. This sudden change-of-course is in direct contradiction to statements the firm initially made in the wake of the leaks, when it was facing multiple calls for it to be removed from the many digital asset cases it was involved with. There, the firm highlighted Roche’s intoxication and portrayed the statements as mere attempts to ‘impress’ the other people in the room.

It also contradicts how Kyle Roche framed his own public apology, published shortly after the leaks were aired. There, Roche cast the videos as part of a “deliberate scheme to intoxicate, and then exploit me, using leading questions”—but never once indicates that the words captured on camera coming from his mouth never actually happened, as he now seeks to imply using the expert report.

The court agreed, blasting Roche’s excuse for the late production of such a consequential report:

“The severe economic and reputation cost these videos have imposed on Mr Roche and his former firm have provided ample incentive for the RF parties to thoroughly investigate their authenticity. Yet Mr Roche argues that despite having ‘maintained since their release that the videos… were distorted’, it had not occurred to him to retain an expert on that point until it was suggested by a ‘friend’ in February 2023.”

“In light of this history, the Court does not find Mr Roche’s argument persuasive.”

Watch: Christen Ager-Hanssen returns to CoinGeek Weekly Livestream Special

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