The Kleiman v Wright trial over the ownership of 1.1 million Bitcoin and its creation by Satoshi Nakamoto has just wrapped up the third week of testimony. Thousands of documents, emails, and text messages have been presented by both sides as well as a number of witnesses testifying via video deposition, Zoom calls, and an in-person examination. So far, no one has contended that Craig Wright is the author of the Bitcoin white paper or that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. The pieces of contention are that Craig was not Satoshi by himself and that he had a partner, Dave Kleiman, in creating Bitcoin. All of these claims are being made by Dave Kleiman’s estranged brother Ira Kleiman.
David Kuharcik, Dave Kleiman’s best friend and accountant, continued his testimony from the prior day. Defense attorney Amanda McGovern had struggled in her questioning previously with Kuharcik due to his privacy privilege as Dave’s accountant. On Friday, Amanda was able to phrase questions better and avoid the rapid-fire objections by Kleiman’s attorneys. She was able to get on the record that no Bitcoin-related documents, prior to 2019, were ever filed by Dave. Also noting no Florida K1 partnership tax forms were filed at any time prior to Dave’s death. Seemed like a win for the defense until Kyle Roche had his cross-examination and angled the questioning to solicit the response from Dave’s accountant that there was no Bitcoin tax guidance until 2014 and that Dave died in 2013.
Amanda moved on to their expert witness, Dr. Ami Klin, who diagnosed Craig with Autism and more specifically Asperger Syndrome. Dr. Klin has an extensive resume that includes his current role as Director of Marcus Autism Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Professor, as well as the Division Chief of Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Klin obtained his doctorate from the University of London and completed clinical and research post-doctoral fellowships at the Yale Child Study Center. He directed the Autism Program at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, until 2010 where he was the Harris Professor of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. He wrote over 200 publications and a book titled Asperger Syndrome. While it took about 30 seconds to read his credentials, it took nearly an hour for the defense to cover all of his expertise in the field. He then gave a master class covering Asperger’s. Based on the blank stares by many of the jurors, Amanda may have spent too much time on the expert qualifications of Klin.
Cross-examination was handled by Andrew Brenner and it appeared he was able to manipulate Klin without much resistance. The questioning was clearly focused on portraying Klin as a hired gun for the sole purpose of diagnosing Craig with Autism, an illness the prosecution does not believe Craig actually has. Andrew pointed out that Klin only had a brief interview with Craig before providing that diagnosis. The fact is Klin was provided several interviews done by other physicians with Craig and has also personally viewed some of his recorded interactions in various settings. The good doctor stood by his diagnosis and the process he followed as the gold standard in the field.
The defense had a strong lineup of witnesses this week; however, they gained very little momentum going into the weekend as Ira Kleiman’s team was able to level the field through cross-examination. Craig is expected to return to the stand on Monday, and the defense may have some surprises planned. It will be interesting to see if the Kleiman team will turn up the heat on Craig during his upcoming testimony.
Unfortunately, the pace has slowed dramatically from the furious pace set in week one leading many to believe that the trial will not conclude prior to the Thanksgiving holiday as it was originally set by Judge Beth Bloom at the beginning of the trial. There are only a few more witnesses to testify including Craig and an expert who will testify to the valuation of the Bitcoin in question. The latter is a requirement in this type of litigation. The question was posed: will the valuation be based on Bitcoin then or on today’s dollar amount of $65 billion? Kurt Wuckert Jr. spoke to this in his daily court summary seen here: