Judge Netburn has finally put to rest the SEC’s assertion that William Hinman’s document is protected by attorney-client privilege.
Popular blockchain company Ripple recorded a major win yesterday after Judge Sarah Netburn finally dismissed the SEC’s assertion that William Hinman’s document is protected by attorney-client privilege.
“The SEC’s motion [of attorney-client privilege over Hinman’s documents] is DENIED. Consistent with the Court’s April 11, 2022 Order, the SEC shall submit the two proposed redactions in Entries 29 and 35 for the Court’s in-camera review,” Judge Netburn ruled.
Following the ruling, the SEC has a period of 14 days to file an appeal before Judge Analisa Torres.
Brawl Over Hinman’s 2018 Document
Ripple recorded the victory after engaging in a lengthy argument that lingered for months.
With the SEC charging Ripple for breaching U.S. laws via the offering of unregistered securities in the United States, the blockchain company has sought different means to prove that its native cryptocurrency is not a security.
One of Ripple’s plans on proving that XRP is not a security is by referencing a 2018 speech made by Hinman, SEC’s former director of Corporation Finance.
In the speech, Hinman declared Ethereum (ETH) as a non-security, prompting Ripple to believe that the former Corporation Finance also made reference to XRP, given its popularity at the time.
Based on this, the blockchain company had requested for the SEC’s internal document that led to Hinman’s 2018 speech. However, all efforts to obtain the speech have not yielded positive results, as the SEC continues to keep the document away from Ripple.
At first, the Securities and Exchange Commission asserted that the document was protected by deliberative process privilege (DPP), a motion that was denied by the Court.
Still not relenting, the agency raised another motion, claiming that Hinman discussed the matter with some attorneys in the commission before drafting the speech. Thus, suggesting that Hinman’s 2018 document is protected by attorney-client privilege, with Hinman considered as the client.
The motion did not sit well with Ripple, prompting the company to challenge the SEC’s assertion for months. With none of the parties planning to let go, Judge Netburn invited both parties to a conference held on June 7, 2022.
After the conference, it became clear to many, including FOX Journalist Eleanor Terrett, that Judge Netburn would compel the SEC to produce the internal document.
Judge Netburn requested for 10 exemplar documents, which were reviewed on camera and subsequently prompted the ruling:
“Accordingly, the predominant purpose of the communications was not to provide legal advice to aid the SEC in conducting the public’s business. The documents must be produced.”
XRP Holders Jubilate Massively
The ruling sparked widespread jubilation across various social media platforms. Attorney Jeremy Hogan, a Partner at Hogan & Hogan law firm, commented about the development, saying:
“As much as I enjoyed the legal victory (and the Judge seeing right through the SEC deceit), I was even more glad to see the excitement and happiness on crypto-Twitter, again. It’s been awhile.”
As much as I enjoyed the legal victory (and the Judge seeing right through the SEC deceit), I was even more glad to see the excitement and happiness on crypto-Twitter, again. It's been awhile.
G'night from the newest member of the Hogan family "Tappi" the tortoise. pic.twitter.com/TokkMyzKe0
— Jeremy Hogan (@attorneyjeremy1) July 13, 2022