Kleiman vs. Wright: The First Day of the Bitcoin Courtroom Drama

Kleiman vs. Wright, possibly one of the biggest civil trials of all time with over $60 billion at stake, began on November 1, 2021 at a West Palm Beach, Florida federal court. The trial will answer the question of whether Bitcoin white paper author Satoshi Nakamoto is nChain Chief Scientist Craig S. Wright or Wright and his best friend, the late David Kleiman. 

It is important to note that there is no doubt that Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. The reasonable doubt lies in whether Wright invented Bitcoin alone or with a partner, who is asserted to be David Kleiman by his brother, Ira Kleiman

Jury Selection

The day starts off with a jury selection, which has eliminated twenty potential jurors for having connections to or investments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Ten jurors remain, seven men and three women, with an average age of 55—all regular people who have little to no idea about Bitcoin and how it works. The fate of 1.1 million Bitcoin estimated to be over $60 billion rests at their hands.

“It was really interesting to see how many people had some connection in the Bitcoin economy. And the thing that really stood out, there were nine people out of 30 that either had some investment, some stake in blockchain assets or crypto,” Kurt Wuckert Jr., one of the journalists covering the trial, said. 

Plaintiff’s Opening Statement: David Kleiman was Wright’s Business Partner

After the jury has been decided, Kleiman estate attorney Kyle Rosche gives his opening statement, attempting to provide everyone at the courtroom with a timeline that aims to establish Kleiman as Wright’s business partner until his death in April 2013. 

Rosche presents a series of emails to the court wherein Wright refers to Kleiman as his “business partner” and other times as his “partner.” Rosche argues that everything changed after David Kleiman’s death and that Ira Kleiman started to believe something was off when the latter was contacted by the Australian Tax Office in 2015 to verify if his brother received $40 million from Wright for assets from their alleged shared firm W&K Info Defense Research, LLC.

“You’re going to see the tangled web of lies that Craig Wright has spun for years,” Rosche passionately said.

The Defense: Wright’s Ex-Wife was David Kleiman’s Business Partner 

Wright’s legal counsel, Amanda McGovern refutes Rosche’s argument by stating that David Kleiman’s business partner and the “W” in W&K was actually Lynn Wright, Craig Wright’s wife at the time. Hence, David Kleiman was never really Wright’s business partner in a legal sense. 

McGovern asserts that Ira Kleiman simply has a different understanding of the word “partner,” and Wright has always been misunderstood due to his inability to communicate properly because he is a diagnosed autistic and was oftentimes treated as a “freak.” Furthermore, McGovern claims that there is no written agreement that definitively shows that Wright and Kleiman were partners in creating Bitcoin. 

“Nothing that you saw in that whole timeline represents a conversation between Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman to form a partnership to invent Bitcoin and mine Bitcoin. This is a case that Ira Kleiman built after Dave’s death,” McGovern told the jury. 

The courtroom drama that is Kleiman vs. Wright is expected to come to a close before the Thanksgiving holidays, according to Judge Beth Bloom.

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