Ripple scored a small win in its legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) as district court judge Sarah Netburn authorized the deposition of a former SEC official, William Hinman. The digital payments firm and its two senior executives are accused of selling $1.3 billion worth of XRP tokens in violation of securities laws by the SEC.
On Thursday, US District Court Judge Sarah Netburn ordered the deposition of William Hinman, who previously served as the director of SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. The former official is known for his controversial stance on Ethereum.
The ruling indicates that Ripple can ask Hinman to explain his comments on Ethereum before the court. In 2018, Hinman had stated that the altcoin was not a security since it was “sufficiently decentralized.” His comments were celebrated by the crypto community for clarifying Ethereum’s legal status, but they drew intense scrutiny as well. Hinman left the SEC shortly after the statement.
By questioning Hinman, Ripple hopes to establish that it is being treated unfairly by the SEC while pointing at the agency’s previous rulings that exempted Bitcoin and Ethereum from registration.
Despite SEC’s repeat objections to Hinman’s testimony, Judge Netburn has determined that the former “high-ranking official” must sit for the deposition.
Hinman was originally scheduled to testify in the ongoing proceedings on July 19, but the judge postponed his questioning till the parties involved arrived at a consensus on the scope.