The Kleiman v Wright trial is coming to a close and we could be less than 24 business hours away from a verdict. The courtroom reached full capacity as spectators, media representatives, lawyers, and interns eagerly watched both legal counsels deliver their closing arguments. Many people were even anticipating the jury to return a verdict on Tuesday—but at the end of the day, the jury had still not returned with their decision.
Freedman’s closing argument
Plaintiff lawyer Vel Freedman gave the first closing argument of the day. Freedman’s argument highlighted all the key points that the plaintiffs wanted the court to observe from their case. He began by telling the court what the plaintiffs are looking to get out of the case: half of the 1.1 million Bitcoin that Dave Kleiman and Dr. Craig S. Wright allegedly mined together.
Freedman argued that Dr. Wright told the New South Wales Police that he and Dave Kleiman had been working on Bitcoin since 2004. That Dr. Wright forged Dave Kleiman’s signature to fraudulently transfer assets that belonged to Dave Kleiman over to himself, and that Dr. Wright forged documents that he submitted to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and his lawyers.
Freedman emphasized the idea that the law does not require a written agreement for a partnership to be formed, and all that is needed for a partnership is a common purpose, joint or proprietary interest, and joint control over the partnership. The plaintiff’s lawyer also argued that a partnership does not require formal documents of registration either, and then cited Lynn Wright’s testimony where she said that Dr. Wright often does business informally and that the only time she saw him break out formal documents for business was when working with lawyers and bringing on new employees.
Freedman tried to highlight the idea that Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright intentionally operated in secrecy, and that is another reason why there is not a large paper trail. Freedman said that Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman purposefully deleted all evidence of Bitcoin being created and cited many of the pieces of evidence that implied that Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman partnered.
Freedman went on to question Dr. Wright’s autism diagnosis and says that it’s odd that Dr. Wright was diagnosed with autism at the age of 50, and that he finds it interesting that the doctor who made the diagnosis was paid a significant amount of money by the defendant’s legal counsel to do work for the case.
As Freedman’s brought his closing argument to an end, he walked the jury through how he wanted them to answer each of the questions on the jury verdict form. Interestingly, Freedman introduced the valuation of Dr. Wright’s intellectual property at this point in time—a topic that was hardly discussed throughout the 15 days of the trial. Freedman argued that since Dr. Wright’s intellectual property is worth $252 billion, that Dave Kleiman should be entitled to half of that, raising the stakes involved in this case from $33 billion to about $150 billion.
To bring his argument to a close, Freedman reminded the jury that they are deliberating over whether Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright had a partnership in which they mined 1.1 million Bitcoin together and if Dr. Wright stole property from Dave.
Rivero’s closing argument
Lawyer for defense, Andres Rivero, started his closing argument by making the subtle point that the plaintiffs are relying on evidence they say Dr. Wright forged or told lies in; and for that reason, the plaintiffs built their argument on quicksand.
Rivero went on to remind the jury that they are deliberating over whether or not Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright had a partnership to invent Bitcoin as Satoshi Nakamoto and mine Bitcoin; and then reminded the court that Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman did not have a partnership together before the formation of W&K Info Research Defense LLC.
Rivero brought up the many witness testimonies in which the witnesses said they never heard Dave Kleiman say anything about Bitcoin, Bitcoin mining, or having a partnership with Dr. Wright regarding Bitcoin-related matters.
He also emphasized the fact that none of the evidence that the plaintiffs presented—besides the email correspondence where Dr. Wright asks Dave to edit the Bitcoin white paper—were produced before Dave Kleiman died; and that the most meaningful evidence would probably come from when Dave was still living.
As Rivero began to wrap up his closing statement, he argued that Dave Kleiman was too ill to do the necessary maintenance on a large-scale mining operation; and that for a partnership to exist, ownership and percentage ownership between the partners needs to be clear.
Freedman had a very short rebuttal to Rivero’s closing argument. Freedman told the court that Dr. Wright is a multi-billionaire. Then he reminded the court—and ended his rebuttal—by saying that Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright deliberately kept Bitcoin-related matters a secret, and then cited numerous pieces of evidence that came up in court that would imply that Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright intentionally operated in secrecy.
Each of the closing arguments highlighted the key points that each legal counsel set out to show the court in the entirety of their case.
Vel Freedman’s closing argument was very strong and had great delivery and persuasive presentation to support it. His main ideas were that Dr. Wright is not a credible individual, that he forged numerous documents, and that Dr. Wright and Dave had a secret partnership in which they did Bitcoin-related work.
Rivero’s closing argument was OK; it was very factual, he presented strong information, but the delivery of it was very sloppy and Rivero’s team struggled with the tech side of their presentation which had a noticeable impact on what Rivero was and wasn’t able to show the jury. To add insult to injury, Rivero spilled a glass of water all over his presentation notes the moment he walked up to the microphone.
Rivero’s main points were that there is no evidence or documents that explicitly state that Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman had a partnership in which they worked on Bitcoin-related matters together, that several pieces of evidence and witness testimonies support that claim, and that the plaintiffs are relying on the documents they say are fraudulent and therefore they are actually damaging their own case.
After hearing both closing arguments, my personal belief is that the plaintiffs have a bit more wind in their sails than the defense. However, I do not think that there is a clear winner in the case yet; what supports this idea is that the jury was not able to return a verdict today, which suggests to me that there was not full consensus on what the verdict should be.
The jury is expected to return a verdict on Monday, November 29.
CoinGeek features Kurt Wuckert Jr. in recap coverage which will be livestreamed daily at 6:30 p.m. EST on our YouTube Channel.
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