Securities and Exchange Commission officials have admitted in federal court in Dallas that they may have "misinterpreted" federal privacy laws in their investigation of silver trading by the Hunt family of Texas.
But the SEC lawyers insist they did not violate the Right to Financial Privacy Act and did nothing to warrant stopping their year-long probe of the Hunts.
The SEC officials, who usually are the ones asking questions in court, were on the witness stand in U.S. District Court in Dallas Friday and Saturday being questioned by the attorneys for the Hunts, who are trying to limit the SEC probe.
Federal Judge Robert Porter has temporarily stopped the SEC investigation of the Hunts' silver trading and after hearing more testimony this week is to decide whether to impose restrictions on the SEC.
Earlier last week, William Herbert Hunt testified that there were "substantial and material" differences between SEC subpoenas that were served on several of the Hunts' banks and the copies of the subpoenas that were sent to the Hunts.
Under the recently enacted Financial Privacy Act, citizens are supposed to be notified of any efforts by federal investigators to obtain their bank records.
While acknowledging they may not have complied with the privacy law in the past, SEC lawyers told Judge Porter there is no need for a court order protecting the Hunts' rights because there is no evidence the government will violate the law again.
The SEC has asked for more than 20,000 documents in the investigation.