COPA lawyers struggle to keep Wright on topic as courtroom heats up

On Day three of the COPA v WRIGHT trial to determine whether Dr. Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, Wright, visibly frustrated, gave impassioned monologues around his thousands of whitepapers and how his vision for Bitcoin differs from the current iteration.

Noting that the bodies, cameras, and equipment in the courtroom had caused the temperature to rise four degrees Celsius above other rooms, lawyers for COPA were quite direct today,

“I appreciate you’ve ridden a hobby horse for the past few minutes but I put it to you that it was not an answer to my question.”

Wright vehemently defended his position that the current version of Bitcoin with limited block sizes goes against “his” vision for Bitcoin. Further, he cites recent high transaction fees, fueled by Ordinals, denote a flawed system.

Wright further proclaims that 80% of Bitcoin nodes run on AWS. A statistic that has been true of Ethereum, however, data from Bitnodes puts this figure closer to 1.8%.

When asked whether metadata is likely to be unreliable in any of his supporting documentation provided as evidence in his claim to be Satoshi, Wright avoided the question. Instead, Wright began long, rambling statements saying that the documents came from his staff rather than him directly.

He defended the integrity of his documents, attributing discrepancies in metadata to the handling by multiple staff over time and technical processes that may alter document properties unintentionally. This is partly because he allegedly develops ideas and theories on dictation devices and notepads, which staff members turn into documents.

Lawyers for COPA interjected at one point,

“Can I just pause you there Dr. Wright, because I believe you’ve gone quite a bit beyond the subject matter here.” and “Again, I need to ask you to answer the question.”

Wright’s defense is that he claimed to have ‘drafted’ the supplied information and that there is “no such thing” as a pristine copy of a file older than 5 years old. However, when asked whether the Bitcoin whitepaper is a pristine file, Wright must concede that it is “close to pristine” as it is downloaded fresh every time.

All of Wright’s documentation has allegedly been passed on by multiple staff members on servers, thus creating “imperfect” copies of the documents. Throughout the day, he continues to blame Citrix and other enterprise computer software for improperly saving files for any “clumsy edits.”

Wright repeatedly referenced his own personal testing of software that allegedly confirms the plausibility of his defense, which both sides had agreed would not be used as evidence due to unreliable evidence.

He again continued to argue against the findings of expert witnesses from both sides who found certain documents to have been manipulated regarding their timestamps.

Wright’s use of the phrases “that’s wrong,” “not necessarily no,” and “I disagree” were perpetual throughout the cross-examination in response to the findings of expert witnesses from both sides. Wright seemingly has a verbose answer to every conjecture from the prosecution, explaining that they misunderstand his points in each document. Where he has no recourse, he blames file corruption, which he believes occurs on every file older than 5 years.

Wright rebuts suggestions of backdating or manipulation, offering technical explanations for observed anomalies in document metadata and content. He maintains that similarities between his documents and later published works stem from using existing academic materials, not forgery.

Several documents presented state dates as “last accessed” and “originally created” before 2009. However, expert witnesses for COPA and one from Wright’s team found metadata related to Grammarly and fonts created in 2012.

In response, Wright attempted to talk about his findings related to paper copies, which were stopped because they were inadmissible. Wright then again blamed Citrix Metaframe and Grammarly Enterprise for editing the metadata.

Experts refuted Wright’s claims in testimony. Further, CryptoSlate spoke to someone familiar with Grammarly Enterprise who said,

“Based on my understanding, Grammarly does not embed metadata into files that you open with the Grammarly Enterprise, even if you do not save those files.

However, it is important to note that while Grammarly may collect certain information related to the file, such as the file name and its content, it is processed in a secure environment and used solely for the purpose of providing the Grammarly service to you.”

The focus moved to Wright’s claim that his thesis for his university degree before 2009 included extracts that eventually became part of the Bitcoin whitepaper. The documents sent by the university in 2019 had a contents sheet that did not reference the thesis proposal, which Wright claims included evidence of his Bitcoin idea. However, Wright argues that the proposal was included inside the envelope regardless. This statement was not mentioned in his previous witness statements but was made for the first time in court today.

Regarding COPA’s expert witness, Wright declares his opinion is “completely biased” and refers to the witness presented by his own lawyers as “unskilled… more than that I don’t know” after their evidence contradicts his views.

In one wild moment, Wright claims that irregular hyphenations in one document, which experts believed were artifacts from manipulation, were, in fact, a form of steganography to essentially watermark his work with said hyphens.

Wright’s overall position focused on the extended developmental timeline of Bitcoin and the editing process of his documents, suggesting that discrepancies could be explained by the ordinary course of document handling rather than intentional falsification. In addressing challenges to his credibility and the authenticity of his documents, Wright stood firm on the validity of his claims and the originality of his work, emphasizing the role of legal and technical measures in maintaining Bitcoin’s integrity and his contribution to its development.

In his final comments of the day, Wright asserts that he presented a genuine draft of the Bitcoin whitepaper despite the forensic evidence suggesting otherwise. He challenged the prosecution’s reliance on forensic analysis, asserting that their conclusions were based on a misunderstanding of document creation technologies and processes.

Wright’s defense is essentially rooted in a technical narrative that seeks to explain away the alleged signs of manipulation as byproducts of his document preparation and conversion practices.



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