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Court Denies SEC’s Motion To Seal Hinman Documents

Court Denies SEC's Motion To Seal Hinman Documents

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) faced another roadblock in its Ripple lawsuit as a judge ruled against its motion to block the controversial Hinman documents from being made public. 

Hinman Documents Won’t Be Sealed

In a significant development in the ongoing legal battle between the SEC and Ripple Labs Inc., a court has denied the regulator’s request to seal documents related to former SEC official William Hinman’s statements about Ether. 

The court’s decision to deny the SEC’s request to seal the Hinman Speech Documents is seen as a victory for Ripple. Hinman, formerly the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance director, delivered a speech in 2018 suggesting that Ether was not a security. Ripple believes that these statements hold relevance to its case, as they provide a precedent for a digital asset similar to XRP.

The dispute centers around the SEC’s classification of XRP, the digital asset associated with Ripple, as a security. Ripple has vehemently opposed this categorization and has accused the SEC of providing insufficient clarity regarding its regulatory framework. 

Hinman Speech Not Protected: Judge Torres

The latest ruling represents a potential breakthrough for the crypto firm in its fight against the SEC’s allegations. Judge Analisa Torres, who is overseeing the Ripple lawsuit, had previously passed a ruling ordering the regulator to hand over the documents to Ripple’s legal team. The judge’s latest decision to ensure that the Hinman documents remain open to the public reflects the importance of transparency in legal proceedings and emphasizes the public’s right to access relevant information in such high-profile cases.

She wrote, 

“As Judge Netburn found in her order dated January 13, 2022, the Hinman Speech Documents are not protected by the deliberative process privilege because they do not relate to an agency position, decision, or policy. Therefore, sealing these documents would not be related to preserving ‘openness and candor’ within the agency, nor would such an interest be substantial enough to outweigh the strong presumption of public access.”

Ripple Team Hopeful About SEC Case

Ripple’s legal team has hailed the court’s decision as a significant step towards a fair resolution. They argue that unsealing the Hinman documents will allow the company’s legal team to present a more robust defense and demonstrate the inconsistency in the SEC’s regulatory approach. The team remains hopeful that the court’s decision will contribute to a favorable outcome in the lawsuit and bring greater clarity to the regulatory landscape for digital assets.

In response to the ruling, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tweeted, 

“Another win for transparency! Unredacted Hinman emails to be publicly available soon – stay tuned as the lawyers work through the mechanics to make that happen.”

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.