Ripple has won yet another victory in their long-running legal battle against the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm now has the right to access a highly-contested document that contains quotes from an SEC official regarding whether ethereum is a security.
This document contains text from a speech given by William Hinman, a former top SEC official. In the speech, the former SEC official William Hinman explained that ETH was not a security because it was properly decentralized.
Ripple executives were accused by the SEC of selling the XRP token to unregistered security. The executives denied the accusation. Ripple’s legal team claims that any admission by the SEC ETH is not a security would be helpful.
A ruling was made by Sarah Netburn, the Southern District of New York District Court’s Magistrate. She stated that SEC cannot claim that the document and any emails that are associated with it were “privileged documents”. This means that the Ripple team can use the document as evidence in the case.
Hinman had in emails shared his views on the speech. The SEC claimed that the email exchange was “merely peripheral” to policy formulation and therefore “privileged.” However, Netburn ruled that “emails regarding the speech or draft versions were not pre-decisional agency documents and are entitled to protection.”
She also mentioned:
“Unless they are related to the formulation or exercise policy-oriented judgment, the privilege does not protect the personal views of agency employees.”
Netburn, however, did not refuse the SEC’s request for access to other documents that the Ripple team requested. This seemed to suggest that Hinman’s claims in emails were “opinion-based”.
Ripple, however, failed to get the court to allow it access to communications between Valerie Szczepanik, then-SEC Crypto Chief, and an official from the Treasury Department. This was in addition to a presentation by Szczepanik to Michael Piwowar (ex-SEC Commissioner).
Stuart Alderoty (one of the Ripple executive’s lawyers) took aim at SEC via Twitter and accused the agency of trying drag out the trial.
Ripple hopes for a quick resolution. However, Alderoty states that the SEC does not want to see the case go on for too long. The lawyer reacted to the speech of Gary Gensler, current chief of the SEC, and said that the SEC was “playing the delay card” and using it to its advantage.
“So much about ‘justice delayed, justice denied’. How about publicly committing that the Ripple case will be moved as swiftly and without any further delays as possible?
He said that the SEC used “regulation by enforcement” to create an unlevel playing field and “picking winners according to opaque rules they create as they go along.”
A group of XRP token owners has been attempting to insert themselves into the legal case . They claim that their views are not being represented at the trial – despite the resistance from the SEC.
XRP trades at USD 0.779 at 08:18 UTC. It is down more that 2% per day, increasing its weekly losses by almost 8%. The price has risen 154% over the past year.