The ongoing litigation between Ripple and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a new turn with increased activity around sealed documents deemed crucial in reaching the final decision.
Ripple vs. SEC lawsuit update as of February 16, 2023
Notably, in a February 16 tweet, defense attorney James Filan revealed that Roslyn Layton, a media personality and a senior writer for Forbes, had made a request to gain access to the closely guarded Hinman speech documents.
The petition submitted by Roslyn argued that the press and public had a fundamental and strong presumption to access judicial documents recognized by both the First Amendment and Federal common law. According to the petition, the exercise of this right is necessary to hold the court accountable.
Also, in the motion, Layton accuses the SEC of inconsistency in crypto regulation and points out that the agency still needs to issue clear guidelines for industry regulation. According to Layton:
“This tremendous significance translated into intense public scrutiny of Hinman’s speech; Given the SEC’s refusal to provide clear regulatory guidance on cryptocurrencies, this constitutes the only instruction anyone within the SEC has offered to crypto stakeholders to avoid the wrong end of an enforcement action.”
The motion was endorsed by Carl Cecere, owner of Cecere PC, a law firm dedicated to Supreme Court and Appeals practice.
“We have requested permission to intervene in the SEC-Ripple Case, which has sought billions in penalties from Ripple based on the cryptocurrency XRP, which the SEC claims is an unregistered security,” Cecere said.
Interestingly, an article by Layton on Forbes that offered a critical analysis of the perceived unfair treatment of Ripple by the SEC was inexplicably removed from the website within minutes of the motion being made.
👀It happened again.
Just after we have an intervention by Dr. @RoslynLayton – A Forbes’s article “WHY THE SEC TREATS @RIPPLE AND ETHEREUM DIFFERENTLY” was 👉removed in the last hour.
This is turning into a real dogfight. https://t.co/2G2SfCzu4v pic.twitter.com/4LeWkEDix6
— 🌸Crypto Eri 220k+ Followers (Beware of Imposters) (@sentosumosaba) February 16, 2023
What is a hinman speech?
The Hinman speech by William Hinman, Director of the SEC’s Corporate Finance Division in June 2018, is a pivotal document in the Ripple case as it is believed to include the regulator’s position on the classification of cryptocurrencies as securities.
During the trial, Ripple lawyers pressure the court to order the SEC to release the documents for review. The company believes that the implications of considering Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) non-securities can also be applied to XRP, in Hinman’s speech.
“So public outreach will be crucial to enable the public to assess the strength of Ripple’s fair warning defense – because if those inside the SEC cannot understand the guidance of the conversation, others outside the organization cannot hope to understand it either,” Layton said.
Specifically, the SEC accused Ripple of running unregistered security offerings through the sale of XRP tokens.
Questions regarding the SEC’s classification of securities
It’s worth noting that several legal experts have questioned the SEC’s classification of securities, leading to speculation about the likely outcome. Accordingly, John Deaton, attorney for XRP holders, is of the opinion that the uncertainty in the securities classification could lead to the agency losing the summary decision.
Commenting on the recent filing by Layton, Deaton stated that the contents of the documents will eventually be made public.
“Also, this is an example of what I mean when I say Hinman emails won’t reach an agreement as they will eventually be made public. I can’t put that Jeanie back in the bottle,” he said.
While both parties await the final decision, the SEC has also filed applications to seal more documents related to the experts. The move drew criticism from crypto players, and Ripple responded with a counter move.
XRP price analysis
Meanwhile, the value of XRP has risen over 4% in the last 24 hours and was trading at $0.40 per press.
XRP seven-day price chart. Source: Finbold
The token currently controls a market cap of $20.34 billion.
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