A federal judge has mandated that Elon Musk submit to additional questioning by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of its investigation into his acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion. The decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler, announced on a Saturday evening, confirms a preliminary judgment from December, aligning with the SEC's request.
The SEC's lawsuit against Musk, filed in October, aims to enforce Musk's cooperation in an interview regarding his 2022 purchase of Twitter, now rebranded as X, which Musk had previously declined in September as part of the inquiry, Reuters reported. The investigation focuses on Musk's compliance with regulatory filing requirements during his Twitter stock purchases and the accuracy of his related public statements.
Musk contested the SEC's demand for his testimony, arguing that the regulator's repeated requests amounted to harassment and noting that he had already been interviewed twice. However, Judge Beeler dismissed Musk's objections, stating that the SEC possessed the necessary authority to subpoena Musk for information pertinent to the investigation.
Should Musk and the SEC fail to agree on a schedule for the interview, Judge Beeler has indicated readiness to intervene and determine the specifics on their behalf.
The backdrop to this legal tussle includes Musk's history of disputes with the SEC, beginning with a 2018 lawsuit following Musk's tweet about having "funding secured" for a potential Tesla privatization. As part of the settlement for that case, Musk consented to having his Tesla-related tweets reviewed by a company lawyer, an agreement the SEC claims Musk violated in 2019.
Musk has challenged the constitutionality of this settlement, appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to consider his argument that it infringes upon his free speech rights.