Ripple got a significant win as the judge denies SEC motion to keep Hinman docs secret
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suffered a blow in its case against Ripple after a U.S. judge denied its claims for attorney-client privilege regarding internal documents related to the “Hinman speech”.
Judge rejected the SEC’s argument that the attorney-client privilege protects production of documents related to William Hinman’s speech
In denying the motion on July 12, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn called out the SEC’s hypocrisy in arguing that the speech — in which a former official Bill Hinman suggested ETH was not security — was a personal matter for Hinman while also claiming it should be protected because he received legal advice from the SEC to confirm the commission’s policies.
“The hypocrisy in arguing to the Court, on the one hand, that the Speech is not relevant to the market’s understanding of how or whether the SEC will regulate cryptocurrency, and on the other hand, that Hinman sought and obtained legal advice from SEC counsel in drafting his Speech, suggests that the SEC is adopting its litigation positions to further its desired goal, and not out of a faithful allegiance to the law.”
The draft of the Hinman speech, which the SEC has fought to keep under wraps, has been seen by many in the XRP community as a pivotal piece of evidence that could work in favor of Ripple Labs. The SEC sued blockchain firm Ripple in late 2020 on allegations that senior executives Brad Garlinghouse and Christian Larsen sold Ripple’s XRP tokens as unregistered securities.
However, Ripple has argued that the speech made by former director of the Division of Corporation Finance Bill Hinman in 2018 stated that Ether (ETH) did not constitute “securities transactions” — contradicted the SEC’s stance on the matter. Barring any further appeals or delays, the ruling states that: “The documents must be produced.”
I expected the big Daubert motions today and we didn’t get to see those yet. I was a little disappointed in that.
BUT I WILL TAKE THIS INSTEAD!
— Jeremy Hogan (@attorneyjeremy1) July 12, 2022
Delphi Digital’s general counsel Gabriel Shapiro called it a “big tactical win for Ripple” in a July 12 tweet.
“hypocrisy” is the word of the day I guess…first in Twitter v Musk, now here, with the judge calling the SEC’s litigation tactics hypocritical re: Hinman speech
great job by Ripple’s lawyers in driving this point home to the court pic.twitter.com/vechK4UdPx
— _gabrielShapir0 (@lex_node) July 13, 2022
Some believe that an appeal by the SEC is likely. Founder of crypto legal news outlet Crypto-Law John E Deaton told his 205,000 followers on July 12 that the appeal, along with Ripple’s objection, would come within 30 days. He also believes the appeals judge will side with Judge Netburn’s recent ruling.
At that point the SEC could ask the DOJ permission to file a Writ of Mandamus. I think that’s a tough pitch for the SEC to make. I don’t know if Genlser has the political capital to pull it off. If they can’t file a writ/appeal, they must turn over the documents or ……..
— John E Deaton (205K Followers Beware Imposters) (@JohnEDeaton1) July 13, 2022
The SEC continues to insist that Hinman’s speech was a “purely personal errand” that was not meant to offer legal advice.
Judge Netburn acknowledged that this could potentially protect the drafts if Hinman were a private citizen. However, Judge Netburn wrote that the commission also argued Hinman would not have had access to the information and resources if he were not already working at the SEC.
“It was only in the context of his employment that he was able to solicit the edits and feedback he did.”
If the contents of the speech documents are compelling enough, it could be a tipping point for Ripple in the case, which has been seen as potentially setting a precedent for other similar crypto token issuers.
- Ripple And SEC Fight It Out Over Expert Witness Reports As Suit Rages On
- The XRP Community Continues To Maintain High Optimism Toward The XRP Price