The week ahead: Satoshi Nakamoto takes the stand in Kleiman v Wright

The week ahead: Satoshi Nakamoto takes the stand in Kleiman v Wright

If Kleiman v Wright is the digital asset Super Bowl, then Dr. Craig Wright is the star player—and on Monday, he finally took the field. After being pushed back from last week by an extended Ira Kleiman testimony, Dr. Wright finally began his testimony on Monday, giving us the chance to hear from the only true witness in this case.

This is undoubtedly the most important part of the plaintiff’s case-in-chief, and Dr. Wright’s testimony is likely to take up the entirety of this second week of Kleiman v Wright. It’s a three-day court week: Veteran’s Day is a federal holiday on November 11, and Friday is a court holiday.

The plaintiffs are expected to spend all three days grilling Dr. Wright. According to them, Dr. Wright is a liar and a thief; we’ve seen some scant evidence of that over the course of the trial’s first week, but here is their best chance to prove it to the jury.

They will present selections from the vast array of materials in evidence to paint the image of a partnership between Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman, who they claimed to have formed a partnership and created Bitcoin as Satoshi Nakamoto. Among these are documents from an Australian Tax Office (ATO) investigation into Dr. Wright’s companies in that country and court documents which concern W&K Info Defense Research, LLC—the company partly at the center of the Kleiman litigation. For example, one document appears to be signed by Dave Kleiman on behalf of W&K. Ira Kleiman’s lawyers would say that this indicates that Dave was a controlling member of the company, while Dr. Wright would say it’s merely the name of the person signing the document and nothing more.

Dr. Wright has also attempted to cast doubt on many of the documents in the record. He has pointed out that the ATO documents can’t be authenticated and in any case are self-evidently incomplete. For example, transcripts are missing words and speakers, and attempts by Dr. Wright to have the record corrected at the time were ignored and no correction was issued by the ATO.

Before trial, a full year ago, Ira Kleiman’s side attempted to prevent Dr. Wright from claiming that documents in the record bearing his name and signature are inauthentic. The court did not agree with Kleiman, so we are most likely going to hear him reject some of the documents on the record on that basis. 

Like anything in the case, what matters is what the jury believes.

Limited portions of Dr. Wright’s depositions were also played for the jury, including one to open their examination of Dr. Wright which has him swearing that he does not like to partner with people and had never partnered with Dave Kleiman.

One thing that wasn’t shown in the slices of deposition played for the jury is revealing character moments—instances where Dr. Wright would go off on a semantic tangent, only to catch himself (or be reined in) and apologize for his ‘binary’ approach to interaction.

“If I go off track, I apologize. I’m very binary, Your Honor, and when questions aren’t fully what I would say is correct, I—I’m a bit strange that way.”

Dr. Wright’s persona is likely to play a factor in the case due to Asperger’s syndrome; expert attestations to that effect are expected to form part of the defense’s case. Elements of this came through already today: when looking at what seems like the plain words on a page, parties can come to different interpretations of what is meant by them at the best of times.

Dr. Wright wasn’t all there was today. The deposition of Ramona Watts, Dr. Wright’s wife, was read in court by a paralegal as opposed to played on video as with the others. Watts was involved in some of Dr. Wright’s companies, but given how many of those there are and how long ago this happened, the deposition came down to a lot of I don’t knows. They also played the deposition of Andrew O’Hagan, for which he is still trying to recover payment from the plaintiff’s lawyers.

Dr. Wright’s deposition is going to stretch for much of the week. Counsel for Dr. Wright aren’t scheduled to cross-examine him: this they will save for the defense’s case-in-chief. So for now, the plaintiffs will simply be left to make the best case they can.

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 6 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:

YouTube video

Check out all of the CoinGeek special reports on the Kleiman v Wright YouTube playlist.

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