In the latest development in a court case that has dragged on for years, Judge Analisa Torres denied the SEC’s request to unseal documents related to a speech by Bill Hinman, the director of the corporate finance division. of the agency.
First Attempt Blocked Last Year
The speech in question, which outlined why Hinman did not consider Bitcoin and Ether as securities, previously faced attempts to seal it by the SEC. In 2022, Sarah Netburn – the judge presiding over the case at the time – denied the SEC’s request on three separate occasions. According to Judge Netburn, the reasons for these requests are contradictory and not in the best interest of the law.
“The SEC adopted its litigation in furtherance of a desired objective, and not because of an honest adherence to the law.”
The SEC first tried to stop Hinman’s speech from being used by declaring that it reflected Hinman’s personal opinion, not that of the securities regulator.
After this procedure resulted in a denial of the request, the SEC claimed that the speech was, in fact, related to its internal duties and therefore had to be protected from public view. However, this request was also denied.
Documents Must Be Public, Judge Says
After their failed attempt to protect the documents, the SEC filed another request in the same vein, which was denied yesterday by Judge Torres.
According to Torres, the documents must be accessible according to the common law principle of public access to judicial documents only, regardless of whether they are accepted by the court or not.
“Documents are considered “judicial documents” if they are “relevant to the performance of the judicial function and useful in the judicial process. […] The relevance of a specific document does not depend on which way the court ultimately ruled or whether the document ultimately influenced the court’s decision. Rather, what matters is whether a document is “reasonably likely to influence the district court’s decision on a motion.”
The news was celebrated by Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse – who praised the judge for his commitment to transparency – and stated that the documents will be released to the public as soon as Ripple’s lawyers are allowed to do so.
Another win for transparency! Hinman’s unredacted emails will be available to the public soon – stay tuned as lawyers work through the mechanics to make that happen. https://t.co/o6puPypRHd https://t.co/qmaLVeQaP8
– Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) May 16, 2023
Although Ripple has crossed yet another barrier, it is important to remember that this case is not near its end and has been going on for years.
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