Although all documents have already been submitted in the legal battle between Ripple Labs and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and all eyes are now on Judge Analisa Torres’ decision, there has been a new motion with a potential massive impact. Forbes journalist Dr. Roslyn Layton has filed a motion to intervene, seeking access to the Hinman speech documents from the court.
The journalist is represented by attorney J. Carl Cecere in an effort to prevent the SEC’s December 22 motion to seal some of the Hinman speech documents.
Dr. Layton, a regulatory policy columnist, visiting researcher at Aalborg University and executive vice president of Strand Consulting has no financial interest in Ripple or XRP, nor does she have any financial interest in the case, according to the motion.
However, she has written numerous articles on Forbes about the Hinman speech documents. In those articles, she has examined the central role the Hinman documents play for the crypto industry and justify the petition, according to the letter.
Ripple Gets Support In Fight For Hinman Docs
Layton and her attorney argue that both the First Amendment and federal common law give the press a fundamental right to access these judicial documents. One particular argument in favor of releasing the documents is that the SEC has conceded their importance.
According to Layton, extraordinarily much is at stake – not just for Ripple, its execs and the thousands of XRP holders, but the entire crypto industry:
This case is also poised to determine the future of cryptocurrencies in this country, serving as a legal referendum on the SEC’s entire system of ‘regulation by enforcement’ for the industry.
According to the Forbes senior contributor, a lack of explicit regulatory guidance from the SEC has resulted in the Hinman documents taking on immense importance for public scrutiny. And the supposed guidance Hinman offered in that speech has proven opaque.
While Ethereum (ETH) has been declared outside the SEC’s jurisdiction, Ripple is facing a billion-dollar fine. “That inconsistency has given rise to grave concerns about potential conflicts of interest, because Hinman had a financial stake in promoting Ethereum to the exclusion of competing coins like XRP.”
According to the Ripple supporter’s letter, documents from Hinman’s speech will reveal whether Ethereum advocates within the SEC had inappropriate influence in shaping Hinman’s message, or whether agency insiders thought the guidance provided in the speech was unclear or deviated too much from established expectations.
“And such access is likewise essential in helping the public evaluate whether the SEC’s entire ‘regulation by enforcement’ approach to cryptocurrencies makes sense , whether its pursuit of Ripple is a legitimate use of public tax dollars, and whether the lines the SEC has drawn actually work,” Layton claims.
Remarkably, in Davos, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse commented on the documents related to the speech as follows:
When those come to light, I think you’ll see more how it is possible that the SEC decided to bring a case against Ripple, given what they were saying within their own walls.
When Judge Torres will rule on the motion remains to be seen. At the time of writing, XRP was trading at $0.4019, showing an increase of 5.3% in the last 24 hours, in line with the bullish sentiment in the crypto market.
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