Craig Wright’s Counsel Rebuts Forgery Evidence in Ongoing Lawsuit
Originally published on: CoinDesk
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August 06, 2019
Craig Wright’s ongoing contempt hearing failed to reach a sanctions verdict on August 5.
As part of a $10 billion lawsuit brought by Ira Kleiman, brother of Wright’s former business partner Dave Kleiman, Wright previously failed to disclose a complete list of his bitcoin holdings acquired prior to Dec. 31, 2013. Judge Bruce Reinhart heard testimony at a U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach to determine an appropriate, possible remedy to this offense.
These holdings may contain bitcoin collectively mined by Wright and Kleiman and may be held in the 1.1 million bitcoin Tulip Trust, at the heart of the case. Wright has claimed his access to the trust is limited through a complicated cryptographic scheme.
Wright’s defense, led by Amanda McGovern of Rivero Mestre, deposed Steven Shadders, Chief Technology Officer of nChain, to lay groundwork why the self-declared inventor of bitcoin, Wright, has been unable to provide complete information regarding his earliest acquired bitcoin.
Shadders, who has publicly affirmed Wright’s claim to be the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, testified that beginning sometime in June he began work on extracting possible holdings. Using six criteria, he winnowed down potential addresses to around 27,000 on Wright’s behalf.
Shadders testified he had only examined addresses dated between Jan, 3 2009 and Aug, 21 2010, that were unspent, were used only once, contained a particular pay-to-public script pattern, and showed a nonce field value between 0 and 58. Despite the rigid criteria, Shadders also testified his algorithm contained a “quirk” that may have included addresses that do not belong to Wright. He allegedly made this discovery in the days leading up to the hearing.
As part of the cross-examination the prosecution probed Shadders regarding his travel expenses to and from the June 28 hearing at which Wright testified, seemingly to indicate Shadders may have been paid for his efforts.
Shadders declined a request for comment and Wright did not appear in court.
Emails, invoices, and BitMessages
As part of this civil and criminal hearing the prosecution called Matthew J. Edman, Director at Berkeley Research Group, as an expert witness in metadata and cryptography. According to his testimony, a number of emails and BitMessages purportedly sent between Dave Kleiman and Wright, as well as documents pertaining to the Tulip Trust show evidence of tampering.
Though Edman spoke to inconsistencies found between multiple versions of documents, including in timestamps and email headers, he was unable to speak to the possible motivation behind the changes and therefore could not reasonably assume the documents show evidence of fraud.
Edman frequently spoke to circumstantial evidence that suggests Wright manipulated documents to weave a narrative around the establishment and chain of custody of the Tulip Trust, though the defense was able to push back during a cross examination.
Wright’s counsel argued that though metadata may place an email as having been edited in Eastern Australia’s timezone, where Wright was residing at the time, it does not conclusively speak to who or why an edit was made.
Similarly, the defense argued an invoice relating to the Tulip Trust may have been a template after hearing Edman opine the document was inauthentic for showing signs of editing.
As it stands, a hearing has been scheduled for August 26 where both defense and prosecution will give their closing arguments. Judge Reinhart may determine a remedy for contempt of court.
Craig Wright photo via Flickr