Friday was a dull day in the Kleiman v Wright trial—the most exciting thing that took place was when we sang Happy Birthday to a juror (what a great way to spend a birthday).
Court always ends early on Fridays—and today it started at 9:30 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. with a one-hour lunch and one 15-minute break in between. That being said, we only saw 4 hours and 15 minutes of action compared to the usual 5 hours and 20 minutes we see on the days that court runs for the full length of time.
In addition to the short court session, we only saw two witnesses take the stand: David Kuharcik, Dave Kleiman’s friend and accountant, was the first witness to take the stand, followed by Dr. Ami Klin, a psychologist who studies autism.
Continuation of Kuharcik
The Kuharcik examination began where it left off on Day 12. Compared to the previous day, lawyer for defense Amanda McGovern refined her questions and managed to get more of her argument out without being thwarted by objections on the basis of accountant-client privilege.
Nonetheless, McGovern still had a hard time making her case. There were a few times when Kuharcik asserted accountant-client privilege and did not answer the questions McGovern asked.
Ultimately, Kuharcik confirmed that he was Dave Kleiman’s accountant, that none of the tax returns he worked on before the year 2019 mentioned Bitcoin, and that he never issued a K-1 tax document—a form that partners in a business receive—to Dr. Craig Wright.
Plaintiff lawyer Kyle Roche cross-examined Kuharcik and emphasized one main point: that the IRS did not release guidance about Bitcoin taxation until 2014, which Kuharcik confirmed was true. This could imply that Dave Kleiman did not submit any Bitcoin-related documents to his accountant David Kuharcik. The reason for this was because until 2014, it was difficult to navigate the waters around Bitcoin taxation and at times, even unclear how Bitcoin was to be taxed. It has been alluded to that Dr. Wright did submit tax documents to the ATO referencing Bitcoin as early as 2009 but that evidence has not been presented by the defence to date.
The doctor that diagnosed Dr. Wright
After Kuharcik, Dr. Ami Klin was called to the stand, Dr. Klin has a Ph.D. in psychology and specializes in autism research, and was the doctor who diagnosed Dr. Wright with Autism/Asperger’s.
“I was asked to determine if Dr. Wright has autism and how it impacts his behavior in public settings including a court of law,” said Dr. Klin.
After examining Dr. Wright, Dr. Klin determined that Dr. Wright has autism and highly intellectual—a combination many refer to as Asperger’s. Dr. Klin also noted that autism was usually diagnosed in children as early as 5 years old these days, but when Dr. Wright was that age/growing up, cases of autism in highly intellectual individuals were more likely to go undetected.
McGovern grilled Dr. Klin for over an hour, but the gist of his testimony was that all signs point to Dr. Wright being very intellectual and autistic and this affects how he experiences the world and acts in different situations.
As the day came to a close, Brenner started his cross-examination of Dr. Klin. Similar to McGovern, Brenner had a very lengthy and complex line of questioning with Dr. Klin to make a very simple point—that Dr. Klin was retained by the plaintiffs and is paid hourly for the time and energy he puts into this case. Brenner also implied that Dr. Klin’s methodology was flawed and therefore, his diagnosis of Dr. Wright is invalid.
Put simply, Brenner is trying to say that Dr. Klin was paid a significant amount of money—$600 per hour—to diagnose Dr. Wright with Autism; this seems to be where Brenner is heading in his cross-examination of Dr. Klin but we will find out on Monday morning when Brenner’s cross-examination of Dr. Klin continues.
In my opinion, having David Kuharcik as a witness was a loss for the defense since the accountant-client privilege prevented Kuharcik from being able to discuss anything meaningful about Dave Kleiman, although the defense was able to highlight the reasons why Dave Kleiman may not have talked about Bitcoin with his accountant (because Dave died before the IRS released Bitcoin tax guidance).
When it comes to Dr. Klin, he had an abundance of good information to share with the court but his delivery of that information, as well as the questions being asked to him, were very poor. Dr. Klin’s testimony felt more like a lecture for your least favorite class than it did a productive information session for the court. In my opinion, Dr. Klin took way too long to make a point he could have communicated in 20 minutes. That being said, I would say that Dr. Klin as a witness is relatively neutral; he has slightly strengthened the defense’s position, but the jury fell asleep while he did so.
On Monday, Brenner will finish his cross-examination of Dr. Klin. It has been rumored that Dr. Craig Wright will be the next witness to take the stand.
CoinGeek features Kurt Wuckert Jr. in recap coverage which will be livestreamed daily at 6:30 p.m. EST on our YouTube Channel.
Watch our Day 13 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:
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