Judge Accepts Craig Wright’s Autism Defense, Says No to Sanctions


Craig Wright, the man who proclaims himself Satoshi Nakamoto, will not be subject to court sanctions and has been cleared to present an expert witness in support of his autism claim, when the Kleiman case proceeds to jury trial in two weeks.

According to court documents filed June 24, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom has ruled against a motion the Kleiman legal team filed on May 21 requesting sanctions be imposed rather than proceeding to trial, in response to their claims Wright “committed perjury, produced forgeries, and engaged in judicial abuse”. 

Though Judge Bloom concedes the Kleiman team had raised allegations of “unsettling issues” concerning Wright’s credibility and behavior, she ultimately ruled that all the claims “are best suited for a jury to make as fact finder at trial” and are not a reason for the court to impose sanctions. 

Autism defense over Wright’s ‘inconsistent statements’

In response to the modified omnibus motion put forth by Kleiman’s legal team in May, Wright followed with a motion of his own, requesting “a licensed clinical psychologist” appear as an expert witness. 

Wright said his witness had diagnosed him with “Autism Spectrum Disorder with high intellectual skills” which needed to be taken into account when assessing his somewhat inconsistent statements to the court. 

Under Judge Bloom’s ruling, Wright’s autism defense is cleared to proceed at this point. He says the psychologist could provide testimony showing how his condition “could be incorrectly perceived as having provided untruthful testimony” such as providing an incomplete or “false” list of Bitcoin addresses.

Billionaire backs Wright to the hilt

Bitcoin SV’s billionaire benefactor Calvin Ayre tweeted his support for Wright following the judge’s decision, claiming Kleiman’s lawyers had attempted to “short circuit” the trial but the ruling would allow “Craig [to] get his day in court”. 

Ayre has a history of making colorful statements when it comes to Wright. During earlier court proceedings in August, he tweeted that a different judge presiding over the case had decided Wright was Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. The judge made no such ruling.

Background of Kleiman v. Wright

The legal case involves Wright and the estate of his alleged former partner, Dave Kleiman, being represented by his brother, Ira and financially supported by a litigation funder. 

After the former’s death, the legal team claims a portion of the 1.1 million Bitcoin (BTC) — worth more than $10 billion at the time of writing — allegedly mined in partnership with Kleiman, as well as access to “blockchain related intellectual property.”

Wright has repeatedly denied he and Kleiman worked together to mine BTC and develop such intellectual property, or that he stole anything belonging to his alleged former partner. 

The court case which was originally filed in February 2018 will go to jury trial on July 6.