Every week since the Kleiman v Wright trial started, Florida lawyer Peter Tragos has been sharing his thoughts on the proceedings. Tragos recently returned to share his thoughts on the verdict. Since there’s been a lot of spin on what happened, it was refreshing to hear from a bona fide lawyer based in the state where the case took place.
The counts and causes of action
Tragos opened this video by recapping his previous videos. He noted that Dr. Craig Wright only lost one count and won all of the others.
What did he lose? It’s a count called conversion, and it means that he deprived the rightful owner of some intellectual property of said property and used it for his benefit.
However, it’s important to note that the plaintiff on this count was not the estate of David Kleiman. It was, in fact, W&K Info Defense Research, a Florida LLC in which Dr. Wright and his ex-wife Lynn own the majority stake. Essentially, this means Dr. Wright will have to pay $100 million to a company he controls with his ex-wife and business partner.
To further complicate matters, another lawsuit is currently unfolding to determine if Ira Kleiman even had a right to sue on behalf of this company. If it’s determined that he did not, the verdict on this count may be nullified.
What did we learn from the verdict?
“We learned that this jury did not buy that Craig Wright was a thief, a fraud, a forger, and a scumbag,” Tragos stated.
He reminded his viewers that the jury determined that David Kleiman’s estate did not deserve any of the multi-billion dollar Bitcoin stash Dr. Wright possesses, and there was no legal contract indicating a partnership.
While Tragos stopped short of saying the jury ruled that Dr. Wright alone was Satoshi Nakamoto, stating that he did not necessarily agree with that conclusion. He did conclude that Dr. Wright, or “whoever has those Satoshi coins,” is now free and clear to move them.
Tragos then pointed out the jury had decided that Dr. Wright didn’t steal anything from David Kleiman. Noting that he had been cleared on fraud and civil theft counts, Tragos elaborated on the difference between conversion and outright theft. “It’s kind of like theft,” he said, “but it’s technically not.”
Tragos also said he felt that one of the most important things we learned from the trial is that the civil justice system in the USA is not ready to handle digital currency cases like this. “They’re not ready to understand how all of this works,” Tragos noted.
Did the plaintiff really win anything?
Tragos praised the plaintiff’s lawyers on a hard-fought case as a lawyer. He said he was impressed by how quick and sharp they were, and he felt they did a great job in their presentation. However, ultimately it wasn’t enough to meet the burden of proof on almost all counts.
While the plaintiff did win $100 million for W&K Info Defense, Tragos noted that they’d asked for much more. While Ira Kleiman’s lawyer Vel Freedman was celebrating a massive win on Twitter, Tragos reminded viewers that Ira Kleiman himself had expressed his disappointment and wondered if the plaintiffs “were just throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what sticks.”
Will the plaintiffs appeal?
Tragos said that he thinks the plaintiffs will appeal. Given that Dr. Wright was not hit with punitive damages and the verdict was underwhelming for the plaintiff, he thought an appeal was likely.
The lawyer also told viewers that the actual number paid by Dr. Wright could be significantly different. He mentioned that there’s usually a lot of wrangling over who should pay costs and on what counts they should pay them. This could lead to a situation where Dr. Wright pays either more or less than the stated number in order to settle and avoid further litigation.
In closing, Tragos emphasized the verdict’s lack of any punitive damages. He said this indicates the jury did not want to punish Dr. Wright for anything. We can infer from this that they didn’t feel he had done anything worthy of punishment.
Check out all of the CoinGeek special reports on the Kleiman v Wright YouTube playlist.
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