Judge refuses to uphold Elon Musk’s SEC settlement over his twi…


Elon Musk could own soon Twitterbut his own use of the platform remains restricted by a In 2018 he signed an agreement with securities regulators.

A federal judge in New York denied a motion by Mr Musk to end the agreement that requires him to have his social media posts directed by a company attorney if the statements contained material information about his electric car company Tesla.

Mr Musk had argued that the agreement to settle securities violation allegations violated his right to free speech and that the Securities and Exchange Commission used the agreement as an excuse to launch “endless, limitless” investigations into his public statements. He claimed he only accepted the settlement in the first place because the litigation would have put too much financial pressure on Tesla.

“None of the arguments are valid,” Judge Lewis J. Liman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote in a ruling Wednesday dismissing Mr Musk’s lawsuits.

Mr. Musk’s claim that he agreed to the SEC’s terms because of the financial burden is “completely unconvincing,” Judge Liman wrote. Mr. Musk, according to the judge, “was a multi-billionaire as early as 2018 and one of the richest people in the world.”

Alex Spiro, an attorney for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan representing Mr Musk, suggested an appeal was likely.

“Nothing will ever change the truth that Elon Musk considered taking Tesla privately and could have – all that remains about half a decade later is lingering litigation that will make that truth clearer and clearer,” he said Mr Spiro in a statement, adding: “Stay tuned in.” He declined to comment further.

The decision came two days after Twitter’s board of directors agreed to sell the company to Mr. Musk for $44 billion — a transaction that has yet to win shareholder approval. He had previously criticized the social network censorship of free speech and said he thinks people should be allowed to speak more freely on Twitter, which has tried to curb misinformation, hate speech and other problematic speech on its platform in recent years.

Tesla shareholders, unable to vote on the Twitter acquisition, do not appear to support Mr Musk’s proposed takeover. Tesla stock price has fallen 17 percent since early April. The drop reflects investor concerns about Mr Musk’s use of Tesla stock as collateral for bank loans and the risk that Twitter surveillance could distract him from the auto business.

The court ruling was the latest round in Mr. Musk’s longstanding battle with the SEC, an agency he has frequently mocked. The row discussed Wednesday has its roots in a 2018 Twitter post by Mr Musk, in which he claimed he did it “secured” enough money to take Tesla private. Later it became known that he had only held preliminary talks with investors. The SEC sued him for fraud.

As part of an agreement to resolve this civil lawsuit, Mr. Musk agreed to clear his social media posts with company attorneys. Mr Musk, who is notorious for his outspoken public statements, was clearly annoyed by the restriction and has been accused of violating it on a number of occasions.

Mr Musk cannot get out of the agreement “by simply lamenting that he felt he had to agree at the time, but now – once the specter of litigation is a distant memory and his venture has become, in his estimation, everything but.” invincible – wish he hadn’t,” Judge Liman wrote.

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