Musk asks judge to throw out deal on Twitter post approvals
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has asked a federal judge to throw out a 2018 deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which ordered Musk to have someone pre-approve his Twitter posts, The Associated Press reported.
In a motion filed on Tuesday, Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro said that the SEC’s subpoena doesn’t have a basis in the law, adding that the commission isn’t allowed to take action about the Tesla CEO’s tweets without authorization from the courts.
Spiro argued that the SEC used prior agreement “to trample on Mr. Musk’s First Amendment rights and to impose prior restraints on his speech,” according to the AP.
Spiro also said in his motion that the SEC is using the agreement to chill Musk’s speech, noting that his client inked the agreement when Tesla was a less mature company and the commission’s action could jeopardize the company’s financing.
Tesla and SEC settled a lawsuit in October 2018 after the commission accused Musk of misleading investors with a tweet that said he could make his company private at $420 per share and had the funding to do so, the AP reported.
Both parties agreed to each pay $20 million in civil fines in the settlement.
This comes after the SEC investigated Musk and his brother over insider trading violations.
The commission launched its investigation last year after the brothers sold their shares of the company valued at $108 million and a day before Musk conducted a Twitter poll, asking his followers if he should unload 10 percent of his stake in his company and vowing to abide for the voting results.
Tesla has previously accused the SEC of harassing the company and Musk by launching new enforcement investigations.
The Hill has reached out to Tesla and the SEC for comment.