On Friday, Ripple Defendants filed a reply to the SEC Attorney-Client Privilege claims concerning the famous William Hinman speech and notes.

Defense attorney James Filan shared the Ripple response on Twitter.

#XRPCommunity #SECGov v #Ripple #XRP Ripple Defendants file Response to SEC Attorney Client Privilege Claims regarding Hinman Speech and Notes https://t.co/iI3OGv3yW4

— James K. Filan 🇺🇸🇮🇪96k+ (beware of imposters) (@FilanLaw) May 13, 2022

Addressed to Judge Sarah Netburn, the Ripple defense team wrote that the SEC claims are wrong for the following reasons,

  • “The record, in this case, demonstrates that Mr. Hinman delivered his speech in his personal capacity.
    • He sought input from SEC colleagues as to how best to package his remarks.
    • That certain colleagues discussed legal concepts in some of their responses does not imbue them with attorney-client privilege.
    • Second circuit law makes it clear that advice on policy or messaging issues, even for lawyers, is not protected by the attorney-client privilege.
  • While Mr. Hinman was entitled to communicate with SEC lawyers and to receive privileged legal advice when discharging his role as the Director of Corporation Finance, communications about the substance of his personal remarks are not within the scope of any such attorney-client relationship.
  • The communications at issue involve no confidential information concerning the agency that would be protected by the attorney-client privilege.
  • Even if the SEC could establish the elements of the privilege – which it does not – the SEC at most would have identified a privilege claim that it lacks standing to assert because the privilege would belong to Mr. Hinman.

The submission goes on to provide details on the four areas of focus outlined above in addition to a William Hinman deposition about his 2018 speech.

By way of background, William Hinman, former SEC Director of the Division of Corporation Finance, is a central figure in the SEC v Ripple case.

Hinman said that Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are not securities in a 2018 speech. The SEC is looking to shield documents and emails relating to internal discussions and Hinman’s famous speech.

The SEC is due to respond to Ripple Defendants’ comments on Wednesday, May 18. For XRP, the SEC response and court ruling could prove to be a pivotal moment in the case.

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