Elon Musk has lost a bid to end an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission involving oversight of tweets about Tesla a day after he acquired the sole ownership of the microblogging site.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman said the ruling t now means that “Musk cannot now seek to retract the agreement he knowingly and willingly entered by simply bemoaning that he felt like he had to agree to it at the time but now—once the spectre of the litigation is a distant memory and his company has become, in his estimation, all but invincible—wishes that he had not.”
The judge also denied a request by Musk to throw out a subpoena from the SEC seeking to determine if tweets asking followers to decide if he should sell 10 percent of Tesla via a poll were vetted before being tweeted.
Musk’s lawyers have argued that the SEC’s oversight of Musk’s tweets interfered with his First Amendment right to free speech and that they have “crossed the line into harassment.”
The dispute stems from the claim by the Securities and Exchange Commission that Musk, the CEO of Tesla, defrauded investors on Aug. 7, 2018, by tweeting that he had “funding secured” to potentially take the electric car company private at a premium, when in reality a buyout was not close. Tesla shares rose following the tweet.
The 2018 agreement required Musk and Tesla to each pay $20 million civil fines and for Musk to step down as Tesla’s chairman. The consent decree also required Musk to obtain pre-clearance from Tesla lawyers for tweets and other public statements that could be material to Tesla.