Ripple response to SEC assertions that the Hinman documents were protected by attorney-client privilege

The unprecedented long-running lawsuit by Ripple and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to take different steps. One of the most complicated debates involved William Hinman’s 2018 speech. A talk about crypto securities was delivered by the SEC’s former Director of the Division of Corporation Finance.

Ripple files a response to SEC’s ‘Client Privilege’ claims

On 13 May, Ripple Defendants filed a response to SEC Attorney and Securities and Exchange Commission’s 29 April 2022 assertion. As per the assertion, the SEC refused to produce at the court or Defendant, citing deliberative process privilege [DPP] and attorney-client privilege.

James Filan, a famed attorney, highlighted this development in the aforementioned tweet. Defendant insisted that the SEC should be compelled to surrender the documents. Later addressed key reasons in the said filing.

Complaining to Judge Sarah Netburn, the Ripple defense team wrote that the SEC statement is false for the following reasons. The record, in this case, demonstrates that Hinman delivered his speech in his capacity.

However, Defendant argued that Hinman, entitled to receive legal advice from colleagues regarding her personal views, would not be within the scope of the attorney-client relationship. The communications mentioned are not related to confidential information regarding the agency.

The filing added that even if the SEC were able to establish elements of attorney-client privilege to keep documents protected, the agency would identify a privilege claim that it lacks. affirmative power for the prerogative would belong to Hinman.

“The Court has ordered the SEC multiple times to produce documents related to the formulation of a speech that former Director of Corporation Finance William Hinman delivered in his personal capacity in June 2018. First, the SEC resisted, claiming the deliberative process privilege protected them from production. The Court rejected that argument. Now, the SEC has doubled back to a theory it has not raised in several briefing rounds: that they are all protected attorney-client communications because Hinman shared drafts of the speech with other SEC staff, including some lawyers, for the primary purpose of seeking legal advice”, Ripple stated.

SEC is now due to file its response on 18 May 2022.

Overall, the SEC had constantly fought to protect Hinman’s documents for several reasons, including the basis of Deliberative Process Privilege (DPP). Despite the court’s rejection, the SEC sought a new reason to shield the agency from surrendering Hinman’s documents to Ripple.

Needless to say, Ripple and the team must be running thin on patience. The XRP community too, felt the same given the comments. But, here’s an interesting reaction. Attorney Jeremy Hogan, a partner at the Hogan & Hogan law firm, found it odd that Hinman would receive legal advice from SEC’s lawyer for his personal opinion.

Ripple also argued that the communications do not involve any confidential information concerning the agency that might be protected by attorney-client privilege. It further says that the SEC lacks the standing to assert attorney-client privilege on behalf of the former SEC official.

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