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Big Win for Ripple as Judge Denies SEC’s Attorney-Client Privilege Claims Over Hinman Documents

According to the latest development, Judge Sarah Netburn has rejected the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s attorney-client privilege claims, which represents a big win for Ripple, the cross-border payment firm. The Judge concluded that “The documents must be produced.”

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In a tweet a few hours ago, James K. Filan wrote, “BREAKING: MAGISTRATE JUDGE NETBURN DENIES THE SEC’S ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE CLAIMS. “THE PREDOMINANT PURPOSE OF THE COMMUNICATIONS WAS NOT TO PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE. THE DOCUMENTS MUST BE PRODUCED. That decision is what Black’s Law Dictionary defines as a “body slam.”

The SEC wanted to invoke the attorney-client privilege in order to protect internal documents related to the infamous Ethereum speech given by former high-ranking official William Hinman.

The plaintiff initially attempted to assert the deliberative process privilege, but the agency thwarted the effort in January. The court determined that gathering facts from third parties didn’t qualify as a privileged activity.

Read Also: Ripple Prepares For the Worse: Brad Garlinghouse Reveals What Will Happen if SEC Wins XRP Lawsuit

In late April, the SEC made another attempt to keep Hinman’s emails under wraps by asserting the attorney-client privilege.

The plaintiff argued that the documents in question reflected “confidential information,” adding that Hinman had to be recognized as a client of SEC attorneys who provided him with legal advice. The SEC also emphasized that drafting the speech wouldn’t be available to him as a private citizen. However, the defendants claimed that Hinman wasn’t a client of the agency’s lawyers.

The judge has accused the securities watchdog of “hypocrisy” by arguing that the speech is not relevant to crypto regulation while simultaneously asserting that Hinman obtains legal advice from SEC counsel. Netburn added that the agency adopted its litigation positions “to further its desired goal.”

“The evidence establishes that the predominant purpose of the communications was not to provide legal advice,” the court said.

Additionally, Judge Torres has set a briefing schedule for sealing disputes in connection with expert challenges, according to James K. Filan, a Defense lawyer, and former federal prosecutor.

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“District Judge Torres sets briefing schedule for sealing dispute in connection with the expert challenges. Reminds parties that “bargained-for confidentiality does not overcome the presumption of access to judicial documents.”

He also recently updated the XRP community saying “The parties have been filing their various Motions to Exclude Expert Testimony over the last few hours, but everything is sealed and will be until Judge Torres decides the sealing issues. So, there is nothing new to see right now.”


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Solomon Odunayo
Solomon Odunayo
Solomon is a trader, crypto enthusiast, and analyst with over four years of experience in the industry. He strongly believes that crypto assets and the blockchain will continue to gain prominence. At TimesTabloid.com, he focuses on news, articles with deep analysis of blockchain projects, and technical analysis of crypto trading pairs.
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