Ripple has been dealt a blow in its legal battle against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after a judge denied it access to the regulator\u2019s employees trading records. Ripple had hoped that the records could go towards its lack of fair notice defense, arguing that they would prove that there was a lack of regulatory clarity even with the employees.\u00a0 Ripple had filed a motion in which it\u00a0sought documents\u00a0reflecting the SEC\u2019s trading preclearance decisions with respect to its employees\u2019 transactions in digital currencies, including XRP.\u00a0 The San Francisco company had first sought the regulator\u2019s trading policies regarding digital assets, to which the SEC obliged. It produced its January 2018 memorandum in which it provided ethics guidance to its employees regarding digital assets. This helped Ripple build the case that prior to this, the SEC didn\u2019t have any policy on digital assets, which the regulator didn\u2019t dispute. According to Ripple, if the SEC\u2019s employees were allowed to trade XRP, then the regulator\u2019s allegations that the company acted recklessly would be undermined. As such, it was critical for the company to get its hands on the trading records to prove that while the regulator went after the company, its employees were cashing in on XRP\u2019s price rise. However, Judge Sarah Netburn of the Southern District of New York has thwarted Ripple\u2019s efforts. The judge upheld the SEC\u2019s argument that the preclearance decision process for any asset \u201cdoes not involve any determination by SEC Ethics Counsel that a trade complies with the securities laws.\u201d Judge Netburn\u00a0ruled, \u201cBecause the preclearance process does not consider whether an asset is a security, Defendants have not shown that such individual trading decisions bear on the issues in this case. Although the SEC\u2019s policies (or absence of policies) may provide relevant evidence related to fair notice or recklessness, how an Ethics Counsel viewed a trading decision is more likely to cause confusion or create collateral litigation disputes.\u201d The data relating to the preclearance decisions is not sufficiently probative, and therefore, \u201cit cannot justify the intrusion into SEC employees\u2019 financial conduct, even if anonymized or aggregated,\u201d she added. In addition, the U.S. Congress has presumptively prohibited disclosure of such financial information through federal privacy statutes and regulations so as to protect government employees\u2019 privacy, the judge noted. Follow\u00a0CoinGeek\u2019s Crypto Crime Cartel\u00a0series, which delves into the stream of groups\u2014a from\u00a0BitMEX\u00a0to\u00a0Binance,\u00a0Bitcoin.com,\u00a0Blockstream,\u00a0ShapeShift,\u00a0Coinbase,\u00a0Ripple\u00a0and \u00a0Ethereum\u2014who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for na\u00efve (and even experienced) players in the market.