Ira Kleiman vs Craig Wright

Kleiman v Wright 2021: November’s trial is on as parties discuss outstanding evidentiary issues

Parties in the Kleiman v Wright lawsuit attended a hearing before Judge Beth Bloom on Wednesday to discuss outstanding evidentiary and administrative issues ahead of the November 1 trial.

Though Judge Bloom heard argument on certain items of evidence which are in dispute—in particular evidence relating to the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO) prior dealings with Dr. Wright. The admissibility of certain exhibits relating to the ATO’s audits of some of Dr. Wright’s companies have already been ruled on, but Dr. Wright objects to an array of documents which appear on the plaintiff’s exhibit list submitted at the end of August. These were not resolved at Wednesday’s hearing.

One item that was resolved is whether or not Ira Kleiman would be required to bring his brother’s physical hard drives and memory sticks to trial. The devices have been an interesting aspect to the lawsuit given the evidence they likely contain (or contained, given Ira has admitted to erasing and reusing at least some of his brother’s hard drives after his death). Ira’s attorneys argued against bringing the physical hard drives to court due to security concerns, on the basis that they might contain large quantities of BTC (the plaintiff’s case is that Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman had a partnership which involved the mining of a huge amount of Bitcoin). Though, the attorneys’ concerns would seem at odds with the fact that these would be the same BTC which Kleiman is currently accusing Dr. Wright of stealing. Judge Bloom ultimately said that the physical hard drives wouldn’t be necessary.

Parties are to file their motions on the disputed evidence by September 30, responses are due October 6, the replies are due by October 12, and a final hearing on the motions will be held at 9 a.m. EST on October 14.

Time was also taken to discuss the jury selection process, which is set to take place on the first day of trial. Florida civil trials typically consist of six jurors—on that basis, Judge Bloom said they ideally wanted 10 jurors selected to allow for four alternates but indicated she’d accept 8. If 10 can’t be picked out of an initial panel of 20, the Judge will bring in another panel of 20.

Parties will be allowed an hour each to question the jurors. One of the questions that will be asked of the jurors by the Judge is if they have ever experienced people who are on the autistic spectrum, something that has been at issue throughout the case given how it’s likely to affect how Dr. Wright is received.

Importantly, as of now the trial looks clear to begin as planned on November 1. Dr. Wright now appears able to make it into the U.S. to appear at the trial in person, which was a concern at last month’s calendar call. Judge Bloom did express concerns that one of the jurors might get COVID-19 during the trial, which would necessitate a postponement. The Judge also said she wants the trial to be over before thanksgiving, on November 25.

That gives just under four weeks in court to resolve one of biggest blockbuster civil trials in recent memory.

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