Craig Wright Spars With Kleiman Lawyers in Combative Courtroom Appearance

It was an emotional day for the self-professed creator of bitcoin as he testified in the on-going Kleiman lawsuit.

AccessTimeIconJun 28, 2019 at 10:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:22 a.m. UTC

Craig Wright appeared in Federal court today to show cause why he had not certified facts pertaining to the list of bitcoin holdings he acquired prior to December 31, 2013.

The plaintiff, Ira Kleiman is suing on behalf of his late brother – David Kleiman's – estate. From 2009 to 2011, David Kleiman and Wright allegedly mined 1.1 million bitcoin together, which Wright entrusted to the Tulip Trust.

Ira is suing for half of the collective stockpile which Wright has alleged is inaccessible due to a complicated encryption scheme.

It should be noted the self-proclaimed bitcoin creator has already been found in violation of the court's order, according to the plaintiff’s representation on June 21.  Today’s case was to determine the level of sanction due. It is still unknown whether Wright will be penalized at all.

Wright’s morning deposition was closed to the public, but the court was opened for the evidentiary hearing this afternoon. Reports of the trial have been coming through Twitter.

On the stand Wright again said Satoshi Nakamoto was a “character” he played when authoring and disseminating the Bitcoin Whitepaper, published over an email thread for cryptographic hobbyists in 2009.

Wright continued to say he is unfamiliar with what bitcoin has developed into and refused to recognize the concept of a “public address.”

“That idea is taken from Bitgold and Egold. Bitcoin is the opposite. Keys should not be reused for security,” he said, reported PJM on Twitter, refering to bitcoin predecessors.

The timetable for his involvement in bitcoin can be traced to his mining activity, which Wright asserted was suspended in August 2010 when his vision of a currency untainted by criminal enterprise was subverted.

“I created Bitcoin to be the FIRST digital cash system NOT connected to crime. The Silk Road was made for the sale of heroin, MDMA, Fentanyl, weapons then a reputation system was developed for assassination markets and for terrorism,” Wright said according to PJM.

Wright reportedly began to cry during this section of the hearing. He also “crawled into his lawyer’s arms after the testimony and bawled,” said thatcryptoguyyy, while discussing the case over twitter during a recess before Wright’s cross examination.

Wright’s emotional state allegedly carried into the cross-examination – lead by attorney Velvel Freedman of Boies Schiller Flexner – when he threw a print out of an email that Kleiman alleges Wright had forged to steal from the estate. Wright also accused the plaintiff’s counsel of misleading the court, though the exhibit was allegedly provided by Wright’s lawyers.

This is a pattern Wright is reported to have repeated throughout the hearing. When asked about the evidence pertaining to the Tulip Trust submitted to the court, Wright allegedly replied: “You have put forth documents I don’t recognize,” according to Carolina Bolado.

Freedman again responded that these were documents Wright’s counsel put forward in discovery, who also raised the question, "A company you didn't buy until 2014 is listed as a beneficiary of a trust you claim to have created in 2012?"

He was referring to one of the companies Wright disclosed as a trustee in May.

As the cross examination continued, Wright also said he was unable to recall the key holders necessary to gain access to the Tulip Trust. "I haven't looked at the file. No one asked me to look at the file," he said.

Freedman asserted that the court had ordered he produce the public addresses.

Earlier, Wright testified that he gave Dave Kleiman physical control of the keys that were doubly encrypted. He also arranged two separate chains – a spending and a holding chain – to follow all transactions involving the mined bitcoins.

Wright then said he instructed his business partner to hand over his keys to bonded couriers, who would not be able to deliver the keys until 2020.

"So since 2016 you have known that you didn't have access to these files and wouldn't have access until 2020? And you knew this in February 2019, and March 2019?” Judge Bruce Reinhart asked.

On Wednesday, Wright filed an intention to call three witnesses to testify on his behalf, as well as to personally take the stand as a factual witness. It is unconfirmed whether these men – Kevin Madure, Brett Roberson, and Steve Shadders – have appeared in court.

Craig Wright photo via CoinDesk archives



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