A federal judge has mandated Elon Musk to testify once more in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation into his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, granting the regulator and Musk a week to mutually agree on a date and location for the interview.
The order, issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler on Saturday night, formalized a tentative ruling she previously made in December, which favored the regulator’s stance.
The SEC filed a lawsuit against Musk in October, seeking to compel the Tesla and SpaceX CEO to testify as part of the investigation into his 2022 purchase of the social media giant Twitter, which he subsequently renamed X. Musk had declined to participate in an interview in September as requested by the SEC, the agency noted.
The investigation aims to determine whether Musk complied with the law when filing the necessary paperwork regarding his acquisition of Twitter stock and whether his statements regarding the deal were accurate.
Musk opposed the SEC’s attempt to interview him, alleging that he had already been interviewed twice and accusing the regulator of harassment. However, Beeler dismissed this argument, stating that the SEC had the authority to issue the subpoena seeking pertinent information.
Should the SEC and Musk fail to reach an agreement on the interview’s date and time, Beeler stated that she would hear from both parties and make a decision on their behalf.
Tensions between Musk and the SEC arose in 2018 when the regulator sued him after he tweeted “funding secured” in relation to a potential plan to privatize Tesla. As part of a settlement, Musk agreed to have a Tesla attorney review his tweets about the electric vehicle manufacturer. The SEC filed another lawsuit against him in 2019, alleging that he had breached this provision.
Musk has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the agreement, arguing that it violates his constitutional right to free speech.