Ira Kleiman shows up on Day 3 of Kleiman v Wright trial

Ira Kleiman (pictured above), Dave Kleiman’s brother and the personal representative of the estate of Dave Kleiman, took the stand on Day 3 of the Kleiman vs. Wright trial. And although it’s already the third day in the proceedings, this was only Kleiman’s second time appearing in court.

The day began with a video deposition of Jamie Wilson, an Australian-based accountant that was the director and CFO of many of Dr. Craig Wright’s companies. In his examination, lawyers for the plaintiffs asked Wilson questions on what he knew about Dr. Wright due to the relationship they had formed over business matters.

A core issue in this court case is whether Dr. Wright has a large amount of Bitcoin, and Wilson said he had seen evidence that Dr. Wright was in a possession of a significant amount of Bitcoin. Email evidence was produced in court, specifically an email from Dr. Wright that said, “He [Craig] got coins through fate and other circumstances.”

Wilson went on to say that he believes Dr. Wright had over 1 million BTC, that he knew Dr. Wright was very good friends with Dave Kleiman, and that Dr. Wright’s behavior changed when Kleiman died.

“What made me uncomfortable was the change in habits and how he ran his business,” said Wilson. So much so, that Wilson said he resigned as director and CFO in 2013.

It’s important to note that Wilson appears to have a chip on his shoulder, is holding a grudge and has a score to settle from these past business matters. Wilson was the director and CFO of Dr. Wright’s companies for a short period of time and was listed as the second highest paid employee at the companies. Wilson told the jury that he never received any payment from these companies. When Ira Kleiman brought a lawsuit against Dr. Wright, Wilson reached out to Kleiman’s lawyers congratulating them on their effort to take down Dr. Wright.

“Craig had set up three companies, but my trouble was…where I didn’t feel comfortable with Craig was his change in attitude. He went from a developer that wore hoodies to a guy that wore flash suits and expensive watches,” Wilson said.

“I didn’t understand where the funding was coming from…. I thought to myself, this looks like fraud, and I want nothing to do with it.”

Which is why Wilson supposedly resigned.

During the cross-examination, the defense made it clear that Wilson only knew what he claimed to know about Bitcoin and Dave Kleiman via word of mouth from Dr. Wright. 

When Wilson was asked if he knew if Dr. Wright purchased (rather than mined) any of the BTC that Wilson said he believes Dr. Wright had in significant amounts, Wilson replied “no.”

Second video deposition

The plaintiffs went on to play a video deposition of Jimmy Nguyen, founding president of Bitcoin Association. Nguyen was asked many questions about nChain, and if Dr. Wright has told him any information about private keys being locked. The plaintiffs were looking to learn as much as they could about the intellectual property nChain owns and what it is valued at, but Nguyen said he doesn’t know the details of the intellectual property deals and valuations and said he was only aware of them at a very high level since he was not present when nChain was formed.

The clincher came at the very end of Nguyen’s deposition, when the plaintiffs played a video interview of Nguyen where he says that Satoshi was a group of people.

“Craig was the primary creator,” stated Nguyen in the video interview. “But had help, like the evidence you (the plaintiff) previously showed where Craig said he had help posting online as Satoshi.”

Nguyen notes he was being coy in the video interview to get its viewers interested in attending a CoinGeek Conference to learn the true identity of Satoshi.

Ira Kleiman takes the stand

After Nguyen’s deposition, Ira Kleiman took the stand and was the first and last in-person witness of the day. Ira Kleiman is believed to be a crucial witness in the case as it was he who brought the case against Dr. Wright. Ira believes Dr. Wright had formed a partnership with his brother Dave Kleiman and which mined 1.1 million BTC together. Ira Kleiman is accusing Dr. Wright of stealing Dave Kleiman’s half of the 1.1 million cache upon Dave’s death, and therefore the Kleiman estate should be entitled to half of that 1.1 million bitcoin.

During Kleiman’s testimony, many emails between Dr. Wright and Ira Kleiman were produced as evidence. 

“Can I ask you if Dave played a part in writing the original PDF under the Asian alias,” Ira Kleiman asked Dr. Wright in an email.

To which Dr. Wright responded, “I cannot say much right now, but yes, Dave was involved in that PDF, he had the Vistomail account, I had the GMX one.”

The plaintiffs also discussed the ownership of assets. A big point of contention for the plaintiffs was that W&K Defense LLC, a company that Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman started together, was terminated at a point in time but reopened by a new director, Uyen Nguyen, shortly after Dave passed away. They claimed that many of the assets were then transferred to Dr. Wright when the company was reopened.

“I feel like there are questionable discrepancies in the contracts between you and W&K, such as Dave’s signature, his resignation, transfer of all accountable value, Uyen’s role of director, BAA projects, etc., no need to go into detail,” Ira Kleiman wrote to Dr. Wright in an email.

The plaintiff’s legal team went on to emphasize the discrepancy in signature, hoping to indicate the transfer of assets was fraudulent.

Afterward, Ira Kleiman and his legal counsel Vel Freedman discussed Dave Kleiman’s several hard drives, which many people believe contained a large sum of Bitcoin that only Dave knew how to access.

Many emails between Dr. Wright and Ira Kleiman suggest that there may have been important information on at least one of those drives.

“Dave was smarter than I was in some ways, he broke his BTC in many 50BTC sized wallets. I had a few wallets with large amounts of BTC, which is not easy to move without making the world notice,” Dr. Wright wrote in one of his emails to Ira Kleiman.

“Craig mentioned possibly sending someone here to retrieve the encrypted Keys,” Ira wrote in an email to Uyen.

Without a doubt, the deposition from Jamie Wilson and the examination of Patrick Paige indicate that both Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman most likely owned a very large sum of Bitcoin.

To end their examination of Kleiman, Freedman introduced a piece of evidence into court—an email from May 20, 2014, from Dr. Wright to Dave that said, “We did partner.” It was not clear what they partnered over or if this partnership existed at the time that the 1.1 million Bitcoin were mined.

The cross examination

Defense lawyer Andres Rivero brought the day to a close with a 45-minute cross examination of Ira Kleiman.

“You claim that Dave and Craig had a 50/50 partnership to invent Bitcoin,” River said.

The lawyer noted that Dave never showed Ira Kleiman a business partnership document or shared details with Ira regarding a business partnership existing—and Ira confirmed that this is true.

Rivero went on to ask if there were any partnership papers or writing that reflected a partnership formation or details of a partnership, to which Ira answered: “It was a verbal agreement.”

“You have a will from Dave that does not mention Bitcoin,” Rivero said.

“That is right,” Ira replied.

“He never said the word Bitcoin to you, the word Satoshi to you, the word Craig Wright to you, the words W&K to you,” Rivero said.

To which Ira confirmed was true before the court session ended for the day.

Once again, the defense’s arguments stress that no written or formal partnership agreement existed between Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman at the time the 1.1 million Bitcoin were mined and that there is no evidence of theft taking place despite Ira Kleiman’s accusations.

Conclusion

Day 3 of the Kleiman v Wright trial was much slower than the first two days. I’d say that was because a majority of the depositions were virtual rather than in person. The big takeaway from today’s first deposition is that Dr. Wright has a very large amount of Bitcoin that Wilson has claimed to see in Dr. Wright’s account and that Dr. Wright allegedly changed, and apparently became very wealthy once Dave Kleiman died.

The main takeaway from today’s second deposition is that Dr. Wright has admitted to having help when it came to creating Bitcoin.

And the main takeaway from the Kleiman examination is that Dave Kleiman had a large amount of Bitcoin. Dr. Wright was one of the first and one of the only people that made Ira Kleiman aware of this, and even seemed to know where those Bitcoin may have been located (the hard drives Ira Kleiman took possession of). That Dr. Wright made it clear to Ira Kleiman that Dave was a good friend and played a role in launching Bitcoin. That Kleiman has an issue with W&K being restarted after Kleiman’s death and some of the business transactions that took place in that company once Dave passed, he believes some of those transactions were fraudulent and unrightfully gave Dr. Wright ownership of the company’s assets.

When cross-examined, the defense emphasized that there is no writing or documentation that indicates Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright had a partnership, that Dave had never even said the word Bitcoin to his brother Ira while Dave was living, and that Ira did not actually know much about critical issues or issues of importance in his brother’s life.

Tomorrow should be a more exciting day as the defense finishes cross-examining Kleiman, the events that we saw today are setting the stage for something bigger.

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 1 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:

Watch our Day 2 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:

Watch our Day 3 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:

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