"We know the game and we're gonna play it..." --Rick Astley (via YouTube)
Bitcoin,  People

Lawyers suing Craig Wright: Modern Consensus reporter Rick Rolled us

‘Ahahhahhahahhahahaha! TODAY THEY FILED AGAINST ME IN COURT FOR RICK ROLLING,’ said a chastened Brendan Sullivan.

The lawyers suing Craig Wright for $3.6 billion just complained to a judge that a Modern Consensus reporter rickrolled them on Twitter. Seriously.

As we reported, attorneys representing the brother of Wright’s late partner Dave Kleiman have been trying to subpoena a recording of Modern Consensus journalist Brendan Sullivan’s exclusive phone interview with Wright. It took place on Aug. 26, shortly after Wright was ordered to turn over to Ira Kleiman 500,000 bitcoins worth $5 billion.

Sullivan’s initial response to the current filing was, “ahahhahhahhahaha! TODAY THEY FILED AGAINST ME IN COURT FOR RICK ROLLING.”

Try saying that with a straight face in court.

Once he was able to catch his breath, Sullivan added, “Journalistic integrity and the First Amendment are two things I hold sacred. Our readers and our sources need to know that I am never gonna give you up and never gonna let you down.”

Rickrolling is a prank in which a link purportedly to something interesting actually goes to the Rick Astley music video “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It has become such a cultural phenomenon that Rolling Stone wrote an article about it on the 1987 song’s 30th anniversary.

The lawsuit claims Wright stole Kleiman’s half a million bitcoin horde mined in the early days of Bitcoin by its pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright’s claim to be Nakamoto is widely considered a lie in the cryptocurrency community.

Sullivan has refused to turn over a copy of the interview. The First Amendment and New York State’s Shield Law offer broad protection to journalists’ source notes, so Sullivan filed to have the subpoena quashed.

In a Dec. 9 filing contesting Sullivan’s filing, Roche Freedman attorney Joseph Delich accused Sullivan of “attempting to turn this process into a sideshow.”

He noted, “For example, shortly after being served Mr. Sullivan tweeted stating that he had ‘interviewed Craig Wright for @ModernConsensus in front of several witnesses,’ and that he did not ‘owe anyone a copy of [his] confidential sources or recordings’ but was sharing ‘a snippet.’ This snippet appears to be the subpoenaed video chat with Craig Wright but actually has the audio replaced by Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” @mrbrendanjay, Twitter (Aug. 28, 2019).”

The Rick Roll…
Then-editor Lawrence Lewitinn (inset) reacted with deep sympathy to Modern Consensus writer Brendan Sullivan’s subpoena.

On Aug. 28, Sullivan detailed the initial attempt by Ira Kleiman’s law firm, Roche Freedman LLP, to subpoena notes and recording of every conversation he’d ever had with Wright, in a Modern Consensus article titled, “I got subpoenaed in the Craig Wright/Ira Kleiman $6 billion ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ case and I’m not giving them jack.”

The firm has pared that back and is now requesting a recording of the Wright interview and Sullivan’s testimony.

The firm told the judge that Sullivan’s Modern Consensus article contains comments from Wright that prove their case.

One cited is, “I own a lot of BTC. Dave should have owned 320,000 [document’s emphasis] and I should have had 800,000 and now it’s 50/50.”

Another reads: “Everyone makes me look like a mean [expletive]. I might have been a [expletive], but I was the [expletive] who was withholding. I could have tanked the market anytime in the last 10 years and ran away laughing [filing’s emphasis]. I didn’t.”

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.