Ripple has bagged another momentous victory in the ongoing courtroom battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a judge has ruled that the regulator must turn vital William Hinman documents over to Ripple. These documents contain the draft of a speech by Hinman, in which he told the audience at a conference that Ethereum was not a security.
XRP, the crypto originally launched by the founders of blockchain payments company Ripple, has surged in response to the latest development.
Ripple Wins Hinman Speech Spat With SEC
According to CoinGecko data, XRP is up 10.6% today, trading at roughly $0.479957, propelled by the revelation that the court has overruled SEC’s objections to releasing the William Hinman documents. XRP is now firmly back in the top six coins by market capitalization as bitcoin struggles under the $20,000 mark.
In a ruling on September 29, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres agreed with Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn on every issue relating to the email with a draft of former director William Hinman’s speech in 2018.
Judge Netburn had declared that the email was not protected by deliberative process privilege, as the SEC had argued. The securities watchdog then asserted the attorney-client privilege to keep the email under wraps and block it from being used as evidence in court; a motion Netburn outrightly dismissed in July. She indicated that Hinman’s speech was not the regulator’s records since he expressed his personal view, therefore, they are not an “essential link in agency deliberations” as the SEC suggested. Judge Torres’ decision overruled the SEC’s objections to that ruling.
The SEC filed charges against Ripple, CEO Brad Garlinghouse, and co-founder Christian Larsen in December 2020 for allegedly conducting a $1.3 billion unregistered securities sale when they sold the XRP coin. But Ripple has continually argued that XRP fails the Howey Test and therefore does not satisfy the criteria for being deemed a security.
Ripple has noticeably refused to settle with SEC despite litigation being expensive. Founder of crypto legal news outlet Crypto-Law John E Deaton told his 218,000 followers that Ripple has forked out around $2-$3 million to get the ruling from Judge Torres, and it still has no access to the Hinman documents.
What Next In The XRP Lawsuit?
As attorney James K. Filan remarked, the SEC can still delay the submission of the documents by playing a slew of procedural cards up its sleeve. First, the commission can request Judge Torres to revisit her decision. In addition, the SEC could directly go to the Court of Appeals on a Petition for Writ of Mandamus.
While such manoeuvres are unlikely to succeed, the plaintiff could get an additional two or three months to delay producing the Hinman documents. Yet, as Filan explains, none of these delay tactics would affect the summary judgment schedule.