The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) ongoing lawsuit against Ripple has taken a blow after a federal judge ruled that the public has the right to see documents which have been one of the most contentious issues of the lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres ordered that documents relating to the much-discussed “Hinman emails” be unsealed for public access.
The documents contain internal SEC deliberations about a speech delivered by former SEC official William Hinman in 2018 when he stated in his official capacity that he believed both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are not securities.
Ripple says the documents are highly relevant and could reveal why the SEC has appeared to pick winners and losers in the crypto industry by declaring some crypto assets as securities and not others.
The SEC had repeatedly tried to keep the Hinman documents out of the courtroom, but once Torres ruled they must be turned over, the SEC later filed a motion in December to keep some of the contents sealed from public view.
This week, however, Torres denied the SEC’s motion, citing various case precedents.
“Regardless of whether the Court ultimately determines that the Hinman Speech Documents are admissible, or whether the Court relies on the documents in ruling on the summary judgment motions, they are judicial documents subject to a strong presumption of public access because they are ‘relevant to the performance of the judicial function and useful in the judicial process.’ The Hinman Speech Documents ‘would reasonably have the tendency to influence [the Court’s] ruling on a motion.’ Documents do not receive ‘different weights of presumption based on the extent to which they were relied upon in resolving [a] motion.’
Crypto attorney James K. Filan says previous court orders indicate the Hinman documents will be made public by June 6th.
The SEC launched the lawsuit in December 2020, alleging that Ripple has been selling XRP as an unregistered security for years.
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