Ripple vs. SEC: The SEC files an additional response in support of its attorney-client privilege claim regarding William Hinman's documents.

The SEC is still adamant that William Hinman's 2018 speech is protected by attorney-client privilege.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reiterates that its former Director of Corporation Finance William Hinman's 2018 statement declaring Ethereum (ETH) as a non-security is protected by attorney-client privilege.

The SEC's Case

The SEC's motion filed today supports its April 29, 2022 letter asserting that the attorney-client privilege protects Hinman's 2018 statement and, as such, cannot be made available for the Ripple and Individual Defendants to use as a defense.

Plaintiff rejected Ripple's claim that Hinman's 2018 speech was given in his official role as Director of Corporation Finance.

According to the security agency, the court has never determined that Hinman delivered the statement in his personal capacity; rather, the court has always maintained that the address reflected the former Director of Corporation Finance's personal opinions.

The SEC said that whether or whether the speech contained personal opinions, it would not have been relevant to Ripple if delivered by a junior agency employee.

The Securities and Exchange Commission argued that Hinman wrote the speech after conferring with multiple attorneys at the agency, who used their legal knowledge to prepare and amend it before it was delivered to the public.

"Therefore, regardless of whether the final Speech contained ‘personal views,’ as opposed to official agency policy, the attorney-client privilege protects the legal advice Director Hinman obtained from SEC counsel during the development of the Speech," according to an excerpt from the SEC's recent motion.

 

The SEC's letter comes less than a week after Ripple rejected the agency's attorney-client allegations regarding Hinman's document.

Ripple Effects of SEC Claims

Ripple provided four reasons in its answer to the SEC over the weekend why Hinman's 2018 speech was not covered by attorney-client privilege, as claimed by the security agency.

Defendants contended that the fact that Hinman sought feedback from his colleagues, all of whom are lawyers, did not qualify the records for attorney-client privilege.

The blockchain business also stated that the former Director of Corporation Finance has every right to seek legal counsel from his colleagues, as long as it does not fall beyond the boundaries of attorney-client privilege.

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