Kleiman vs Wright

Kleiman v Wright 2021 trial: Ira Kleiman, Craig Wright testimony expected Thursday

Parties in the Kleiman v Wright trial powered ahead again today, as the jury were shown video testimony from pre-trial depositions and most importantly got the chance to hear from the plaintiff directly as Ira Kleiman took the stand.

The trial is moving so quickly that Dr. Craig Wright’s first testimony is likely to come Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday’s events moved relatively fast: two pre-trial depositions were shown to the jury. The first of these was Jamie Wilson’s video deposition from before trial, in 2019—he testified about a sudden and apparent change in Dr. Wright’s wealth around the time Bitcoin was taking off (“he clearly had Bitcoin money”). The deposition of Jimmy Nguyen, founding president of Bitcoin Association, was also played, although little was made of it.

Then, of course, came Ira’s deposition. The plaintiffs got through their entire examination of Ira, and attorney for Dr. Wright Andres Rivero took up the last hour or so of the day with his cross examination. There’s likely still hours of cross-examination to go, and a number of threads were opened today which are likely to be picked up tomorrow.

Chief among these is a surprise claim by Ira that he was at one point sent an email from a third party which he says shows that Dave told another person about his involvement Bitcoin, outside of the Thanksgiving dinner which Ira has previously said is the only time it had ever come up. Rivero, acting for Dr. Wright, took immediate issue with this: the email was apparently never produced in discovery and the defense has never seen it, so what is Ira referring to? Ira was adamant that the email was sent after his depositions, but a frantic plaintiff’s bench seemed to say that Ira is mistakenly referring an already admitted e-mail from before.

If Ira’s insistence was correct, then there’s a potential discovery violation to be ironed out. If it was a mere mistake, then Ira’s adamance as to the timing of the email may cast doubt on the reliability of the rest of his testimony.

The issue remained unresolved at the end of the day, but it is likely not the last we’ve heard of it. Parties are expected to appear in front of Judge Beth Bloom before trial tomorrow to discuss it.

As it stands, Dr. Wright will take the stand not long after the conclusion of Ira’s cross examination. However, there are a number of video witnesses who are yet to be called by the plaintiffs, and the order that these will be called, or if they’re called at all, won’t be known in advance. Foreseeably, these may come before Dr. Wright’s testimony.

Though the jury hasn’t heard from Dr. Wright to this point, he’s been a presence in the courtroom. Dr. Wright was visibly upset hearing testimony about Dave Kleiman on Monday, and we’ve naturally caught glimpses of communications from Dr. Wright to various people as the parties introduce evidence and examine witnesses.

These paint an incomplete picture, something that became obvious when Ira took the stand Wednesday to testify about his communications with Dr. Wright—which broadly form the basis of Ira’s case against him. One email has Dr. Wright telling Ira that his late brother was involved in the white paper. In others, he explains how useful Dave’s ability to edit written copy was to him.

For example, in 2014, Dr. Wright apparently emailed Ira Kleiman in an effort to praise Dave’s contributions to Dr. Wright’s ability to execute on ‘his idea’: “Dave could edit his way to hell and back.”

Much of Dr. Wright’s communications regarding his late friend are couched in these terms: heavy on praise for Dave, but light on details about exactly how Dave helped him other than to say his communication skills were useful. Under cross examination by Rivero, Ira admitted that that he has never found any emails between Dave and Dr. Wright that shed light on any formal partnership arrangement.

The net result of all of this testimony was a frustrating amount of ‘I don’t knows’ from Ira Kleiman when attorneys would try to pin him down on what he knows about the relationship between his brother and Dr. Wright.

The problem for spectators—and undoubtedly the jury—is that these emails were exchanged years before Dr. Wright could ever have contemplated that he might one day be in a lawsuit over his relationship with Dave Kleiman. Words like ‘team’ and ‘partner’ can mean a wide range of things, particularly given the apparent context of Dr. Wright trying to share the positive details of his relationship with a man’s late and estranged brother. The only real specifics referenced in these communications are Dave’s ability to edit documents for, as Dr. Wright once put, ‘serenity’ (Dave has edited papers for Dr. Wright in the past).

This is made even more complicated by the fact that Dr. Wright has autism spectrum disorder. An expert report filed in the case explains that this has a ‘profound’ impact on his social behavior, including a propensity to be too trusting of other’s motivations.

Ultimately, the jury is being asked to make a call on Dr. Wright’s statements years after they were made—and they were made not in the context of a somber courtroom but in the aftermath of his best friend’s death—and through the filter of a complex social disorder. It would seem that there’s no better way to cut through this than by talking to the man himself—and the courtroom might get the chance this week.

Thursday won’t be the last time we hear from Dr. Wright at trial. His testimony is likely to be lengthy and could foreseeably push into next week. He’s also scheduled to be called as a witness once more during the defense’s case-in-chief.

CoinGeek will feature Kurt Wuckert Jr. in daily recap coverage which will be livestreamed on a daily basis at 6:30 p.m. EST on our YouTube Channel.

Watch our Day 1 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:

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Watch our Day 2 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:

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Watch our Day 3 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:

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