Elon Musk was accused of making “false and misleading” statements in tweets about Tesla in August 2018
A federal appeals court on Monday rejected a proposal by Elon Musk, owner of Twitter and CEO of Tesla, to modify or terminate a 2018 securities fraud agreement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that required to have a Tesla lawyer approve some of his tweets in advance.
The SEC accused Musk of making “false and misleading” statements in August 2018 tweets in which the Tesla CEO said he had found a buyer to take the electric carmaker public at $420 a share — the number is a nod to US cannabis use—a claim a federal judge later found to be false.
The settlement required “prior approval” of Musk’s tweets that contained informational material for Tesla, according to the ruling.
In February, Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, called these terms an “unconstitutional” infringement of the billionaire and currently the world’s second-richest man’s free speech rights.
But the court dismissed those claims, noting that no “evidence was seen to support Musk’s contention that the SEC has used the consent decree to conduct bad-faith harassment investigations into his protected speech.”
Furthermore, the court noted that the SEC had opened “only three inquiries” into his tweets since 2018.