In a significant development for Ripple and the broader crypto community, United States District Judge Analisa Torres has denied a motion by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to seal the controversial Hinman Speech documents. The SEC had filed the motion on December 22, 2022, claiming that the public’s right to access the documents was outweighed by the agency’s mission and that the documents were irrelevant to the court’s summary judgment decision.
However, Judge Analisa Torres ruled that the Hinman Speech documents are considered “judicial documents” and are subject to a strong presumption of public access. She emphasized that these documents could reasonably influence the court’s ruling on a motion. The judge also rejected the SEC’s argument that sealing the documents was necessary to maintain openness and candor within the agency. According to her, the documents do not fall under the deliberative process privilege as they do not pertain to an agency position, decision, or policy.
While the court has ordered the Hinman Speech documents to be made public, it has granted certain requests from the SEC, including redacting names, identifying information of SEC experts and XRP investor declarants, as well as personal and financial details of the defendants. On the other hand, the court denied Ripple’s motions to seal certain information, such as references linking Ripple’s revenues with XRP sales and the compensation offered to trading platforms.
The Hinman Speech documents refer to a speech delivered by former SEC Corporation Finance Division Director William Hinman in June 2018, where he reportedly stated that Ether (ETH) is not a security. Ripple considers this speech as crucial evidence in its ongoing legal battle with the SEC, which accuses Ripple of violating U.S. securities laws through the sale of XRP.
Following the court’s decision, the price of XRP experienced a 2.6% spike, and it is currently trading at $0.43. This ruling is seen as a significant win for Ripple and has broader implications for the crypto industry as it sheds light on the regulatory stance towards digital assets.