Miami Jury Clears Craig Wright of Charges In Bitcoin Inventor Case, Asks to Pay $100 Million Compensation
Craig Wright, who has claimed to be the inventor of bitcoin, just won a major U.S. civil trial keeping him from paying the family of David Kleiman, a deceased business partner who claimed they own half of Wright's crypto fortune.
The defendant Mr Wright is an Australian computer scientist who was friends with David Kleiman who died at the age of 46 in April 2013. Reportedly, hey often collaborated on work mutually and were also partners in a joint venture named 'W&K Info Defense Research LLC'. The prosecution led by Ira Kleiman (David’s brother) and his family claimed that Kleiman co-created bitcoin along with Wright, which qualified Kleiman's estate to half of their fortune.
This trial has grabbed extensive public attention as it was fought for 1.1 million Bitcoins, worth roughly US $60 Billion. Moreover, these are among the earliest Bitcoin created through mining theoretically can be only owned by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto which was always believed to be a pseudonym. Craig Wright's claim to be Nakamoto is under much skepticism as the 1.1 million Bitcoins have remained untouched since its inception. However, in the past, Craig said he would prove his own if he were to win at trial.
Five years after David Kleiman's demise, the legal battle of Kleiman vs Wright started in 2018. The case was extremely technical as the jury were explained the complex workings of crypto along with the origins of Bitcoin. Jurors consciously and intentionally questioned the defendant and plaintiff to understand the business relationship between the two men. Eventually, the jurors signaled the judge Beth Bloom that they were deadlocked at a certain point. Resulting in evoking Allen Charge by the judge. After which, the jurors in the minority took ample time to reach a consensus.
In the final verdict, the federal jury in Miami favored Wright and declined to award any of the bitcoin to Kleiman's estate. However, Craig Wright was directed to pay $100 million with no punitive damages. There was an unauthorized use of BTC funds that did not legally belong to him from their joint company, W&K Info Defense Research. This money will directly go to W&K rather than to the Kleiman estate.
Immediately after the favorable verdict, Wright said in a video, "This has been a remarkably good outcome, and I feel completely vindicated." He believes that the $100 million payment was a "win", supposing that he would have had to settle for $3.2 billion in a previous offer. He does not intend to appeal and is "incredibly relieved."
Previously Wright said that he was planning to donate a significant part of the Bitcoin fortune to charity if he won at trial. In a recent interview, Andres Rivero of Rivero Mestre LLP, the lead lawyer representing Wright, reconfirmed his plans to donate part of his Bitcoin fortune.