United States District Judge Analisa Torres made the order on May 16 in a win for Ripple.
A motion from the United States securities regulator to seal the controversial Hinman Speech documents has been denied — a move that has been seen as a win for the Ripple and crypto community.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed the motion to seal the documents on Dec. 22, 2022, arguing that its mission outweighed the "public's right" to access documents that have “no relevance” to the Court’s summary judgment decision, among other arguments.
However, as per the most recent order, Judge Analisa Torres for the U.S. District Court ruled that the documents are "judicial documents" subject to a strong presumption of public access.
"The Hinman Speech Documents “would reasonably have the tendency to influence [the Court’s] ruling on a motion," she added.
Judge Torres said the court has also rejected the SEC's argument that sealing the documents is necessary to preserve "openness and candor" within the SEC, stating:
"The Hinman Speech Documents are not protected by the deliberative process privilege because they do not relate to an agency position, decision or policy."
The Hinman Speech documents refer to the speech given by former SEC Corporation Finance Division Director William Hinman at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in June 2018, where he reportedly stated that Ether (ETH) is not a security.
Related: Watchdog sues SEC over FOIA access to docs on potential crypto conflict of interest
Ripple has considered the speech a key piece of evidence in its ongoing legal battle with the SEC, which alleges that sales of Ripple's XRP (XRP) violated U.S. securities laws.
The price of XRP spiked on the news, jumping around 2.6%. It is currently trading at $0.43.
Hinman Speech docs will not be sealed; p.5. Judge makes clear they should be open regardless of their impact in a decision. States it neither stifles SEC deliberation nor is the SEC's "prophylactic" concern it could be priveleged in the future convince.https://t.co/tCS5cpgsQO pic.twitter.com/73YXhZszNY— WrathofKahneman (@WKahneman) May 16, 2023
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Update (May 16, 10:50 pm UTC): This article has been updated to include background information and further details from the May 16court filing.