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November 20, 2021

Kleiman v. Wright: Mental Health Expert Explains Craig Wright Diagnosis

On Friday, the 19th November 2021 the trial between Craig Wright and Ira Kleiman convened again. This is a federal civil trial. On this occasion, the day’s proceedings were mainly that of a testimony of a mental health expert, Dr. Ami Klin. The expert asserted that Wright is on the autism spectrum and as a result has faced some lifelong challenges.

The Contention

Wright says that he alone invented bitcoin. However, Ira Kleiman, the custodian of his deceased brother Dave Kleiman states otherwise. Kleiman insists that Dave assisted in the invention of Bitcoin. Kleiman described it as something of a partnership between Dave Kleiman and Craig Wright. According to him, he, therefore, shares in the ownership of any assets generated jointly. These assets would therefore include intellectual property and US$66 Billion of bitcoin. Wright however claims that Dave Kleiman was only his friend. A business partnership did not exist and what they did involving bitcoin was nominal.

This civil suit is based on the claim by both sides of the case that Craig Wright is somewhat the creator of Bitcoin. For about 5.5 years this claim has been pushed but remains unsubstantiated. Likewise, uncertainty remains on who owns many bitcoin addresses and coins.

The Bitcoin Crypto and Taxation

This day’s case proceedings started with a continuation of testimonies. David Kuharcik, a finance professional who handled accounting for Dave Kleiman’s federal tax returns and returns for Kleiman’s business called Computer Forensics LLC that he founded with two partners.

Amanda McGovern, defense attorney led the finance expert through a tax return review and showed that there had never been any reference to bitcoin. The plaintiff’s counsel, Kyle Roche, got Kuharcik on cross-examination to admit that only in 2014 did IRS publish formal guidance for reporting bitcoin mining and gains in tax returns. However, Dave Kleiman became deceased in 2013, one year before these IRS guidelines were issued.

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The Relevance of Wright’s Autism Diagnosis

The mental health expert, Dr. Ami Klin who has experience working with people on the autism spectrum was called thereafter. Dr. Klin heads the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and is Chief of the Division of Autism and Related Disorders at Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. The doctor stated that Wright was an example of an individual on the autism spectrum with high intelligence. He added that some people with Autism may be proficient with other interests like languages and obsessively focus on specific topics and facts. They may also speak with excessive confidence and sometimes appear to others as disrespectful. He shared that this is the case because they may not always pick up on innuendo, nuance, or other meanings within sarcasm, metaphor, or humor. They may also miss social cues as they interact with others and be unaware that others are observing their behaviors.

Klin shared that because of Wright’s very specific interests, he has had a very limited number of friendships, however, this is not uncommon with people who have Autism. He added that as an adult, Wright’s attempts at talking to others about his interests often turn into lectures and would focus on his interests alone. This lack of social prowess can also make people with Autism vulnerable to others that may not have their interests at heart. Klin stated that he reviewed Wright’s demeanor in court proceedings, also conducted an evaluation, and interviewed Wright directly over video online. His colleagues also conducted interviews with Wright’s wife and several relatives of his.

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Way Forward

Klin’s testimony is not complete. He is slated to continue his testimony on Monday. After that, Wright is to return to the court stand on Monday or Tuesday. Both counsels on opposing sides of the bench said they how to submit their closing arguments by Tuesday. Since Thanksgiving is approaching, there will be no other proceedings next week.