The cross examination of Ira Kleiman stretched for almost the full day on Thursday, which meant attorney for Dr. Craig Wright, Andres Rivero, had ample time to grill the plaintiff on his allegations.
We were set to see Dr. Wright on the stand to finally give a first-hand account of the much-discussed (and frustratingly little-evidenced) relationship between him and Dave Kleiman. As it turned out, Ira’s cross examination proved to be revealing by itself, and sets up a gripping day in the Kleiman v Wright trial to close out the week.
Ira had introduced many emails between Dr. Wright and both Kleiman brothers separately. None of these contain explicit details about the relationship between Dave and Dr. Wright, but there are clues. Sometimes Dr. Wright told Ira that he and Dave worked together; in other emails the word partner was loosely used. Though Ira testified that he knew of no written agreement reflecting a formal partnership between the two, Ira’s case is that this is what these emails refer to. Other emails showing Dr. Wright enthuse about Dave’s skills as an editor and indicate that Dr. Wright used him for this often, including for what is referenced as ‘white paper(s).’ If, as Ira says, these were in reference to the invention of Bitcoin and release of the white paper, then it suggests a far milder working relationship than the lawsuit suggests.
But on Thursday, it became apparent that even that might be overstating it. Andres Rivero produced documents showing rejection emails sent from U.S. Department of Homeland Security to Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman regarding several white papers they had submitted as proposals for an R&D contract—proposals which are unrelated to Bitcoin. It would seem that not only can Ira not say what the bounds of the alleged partnership were, but in many cases, he can’t even be sure that references to collaborations between his brother and Dr. Wright are related to the Bitcoin white paper.
Even more damning? Rivero showed a series of emails between Dave and Dr. Wright relating to papers the two had worked on together, and they portrayed a highly communicative working relationship from the start of the project to the end.
“Does this sound like two people working together?” asked Rivero.
“Yes,” replied Ira.
The implication is clear: the back and forth between Dave and Dr. Wright during the projects we know they worked on together is a world away from the radio silence during the period the two were supposedly inventing Bitcoin.
One portion of the defense’s case which Rivero appeared to be getting to as the day concluded was the question of Dave’s documents and physical storage devices and what happened to them after Dave’s death. We know that Ira destroyed, gave away or overwrote many of these: considering Ira had already testified that his brother told him he was working on digital money (‘a project bigger than Facebook’), one imagines this will be a focus for the defense when trial resumes Friday.
This portion of the defense’s case relates to one of the other witnesses that is on the cards for this week and who may even be called in advance of Dr. Wright—Ramona Watts, Dr. Wright’s wife. Ramona is the Tulip Trust trustee that recently sued Ira Kleiman over his negligence (or worse) in destroying these documents and devices, devices which seem highly likely to contain at least some Tulip Trust property. Having set up how painfully little evidence there is of any Bitcoin-related collaboration, Watts’ testimony is likely to shine an uncomfortable spotlight on how little Ira Kleiman seems to have been interested in finding evidence that theoretically could have been the key to his allegations.
And yet, we are still waiting to hear from the only living person with any first-hand knowledge of the relationship between Dave and the defendant, Dr. Wright himself. With the time Rivero is taking cross-examining Ira, it doesn’t seem likely that we get any substantial portion of Dr. Wright’s testimony this week, if at all. The plaintiffs have allotted 3.5 hours to show recorded testimony and other videos to the jury once Ira gets off the stand, so if Dr. Wright appears, it’ll be late.
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Watch our Day 4 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:
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