What Bitcoin secrets could Dave Kleiman’s friend Patrick Paige have learned when he got several hard drives from his dead friend’s apartment?
The blockbuster civil lawsuit initiated by Ira Kleiman against Dr. Craig Wright is now entering its third week, but the testimony of the witness Patrick Paige on the second day, oddly enough, has not sparked much speculation about his possible role in the central question of the process: who controls the estimated 1.1 million BTC tokens that are being issued by Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto was hidden?
On day 9 of the trial, Wright, the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, who is credited with the Bitcoin whitepaper, took a stand for the fourth time. Ira’s lawyers put dozens of emails on the file, got Wright’s approval of every message on the file, and asked him if they were falsified. Wright’s answer was clear: “I’ve never forged an email before.”
Ira’s camp then called Dr. Matthew Edman, the digital forensics expert, to testify that certain emails allegedly sent by Dave Kleiman to Wright were indeed forged. Edman claimed that an email allegedly sent from Dave to Wright in 2012 – in which Dave appears to be discussing control of a large cache of BTC tokens – was actually created in 2014.
Since Dave’s death in April 2013, Edman testified that someone – Wright is the Kleiman’s camp of choice – must have had control of Dave’s Pretty Good Protection (PGP) encryption key that was used to sign the email.
The idea that a recognized security professional like Dave Kleiman would have willingly shared his PGP private key with anyone – even someone he was close to, like Dr. Wright – seems more than unlikely. However, there are other ways Dave’s key could have fallen into someone else’s possession.
As the executor of Dave’s estate, Ira took possession of Dave’s belongings, including numerous hard drives. Some of these drives apparently contained Dave’s private information, as Ira testified that every year on his birthday he does a really bizarre ritual – logging into Dave’s email accounts and writing himself a birthday email from ‘Dave’ . Whether Ira is tech-savvy enough to handle a PGP signature remains unknown, but there is another alternate narrative.
Turn the paige
In the mid-1990s, Patrick was helping Paige train Dave Kleiman when he joined the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office. Dave returned the favor by training Paige in computer forensics. The two later formed a company together, Computer Forensics, LLC, which is still operating today.
Paige testified that Wright contacted him after Dave’s death and told Paige to “make sure that if Dave has any devices or computers or hard drives, we rescue them” [Dave] could possibly have Bitcoin wallets. “
In his April 8, 2019 testimony, Ira Kleiman testified that after Dave’s death, Paige came up to him and looked for “three or four” hard drives that Paige claimed contained data relevant to his and Dave’s computing business. Ira said he gave these drives to Paige without first checking their contents, and while he later requested the return of these drives, Paige refused.
Ira also gave Paige a Samsung Galaxy phone that belonged to Dave in hopes that Paige could unlock it. The phone was never returned, and the complaint Ira later filed against Paige claimed that Paige “threw the phone away after dropping the phone and breaking the screen,” which seems rather strange to someone with Paige’s credentials.
Ira also sued Paige to prevent Paige from “monetizing, transferring, or otherwise converting” BTC in Dave’s wallets. Paige eventually gave Ira control of some Dave-related web domains, but denied owning any of Dave’s BTC wallets or BTC of any origin.
What motivates you
When he left the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office in 2011, Paige worked in computer forensics for the next 10 years. He was a member of the Computer Crimes Unit and serves as a forensic expert. In his current work biography it says that Paige “testified as a computer expert before state, federal, appellate and military courts”.
In other words, Paige seems like a qualified candidate to understand how PGP encryption works. And Dave’s private PGP key could have been one of the treasures hidden on the digital devices that Paige had taken from Dave’s apartment after his death.
Could Paige have been the source of this 2012-14 email from Dave to Wright? So far there is no hard evidence to support this, but if Dave’s hard drives contained BTC wallets, Paige would have a strong incentive to divert Ira’s suspicions from himself. And given Wright’s avowed interest in Bitcoin, he would have been a tempting target for such a diversion.
Ira’s attorneys are likely to end their efforts once Edman’s testimony is finalized, presumably sometime on Tuesday. After that, Wright’s attorneys will finally have the opportunity to present their case, which may finally unravel the secret of Dave’s PGP keys.
Check out all of the CoinGeek special reports on Kleiman’s Vs Wright YouTube playlist.
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