Elon Musk’s lawyers are pushing back against a request from Tesla shareholders to silence the CEO from talking about a lawsuit dealing with the “funding secured” Tweet of 2018. Musk and his attorneys argued he should be able to freely talk about the fight against the Securities and Exchange Commission, but shareholders suing the Tesla CEO think otherwise.
Shareholders pushed U.S. District Judge Edward Chen to keep Musk from making any additional comments regarding his “interpretation and opinions” of the case, which has to do with his idea to take Tesla stock private in 2018, until it is finished. The shareholders suing Musk allege the CEO manipulated the stock price and defrauded them, a report from Bloomberg said.
Musk and his lawyers are pushing back against the request, arguing it is a breach of his first amendment rights.
The Tesla frontman’s attorneys said the group of investors suing him “ask this court to trample on Elon Musk’s First Amendment rights by barring him from publicly discussing this case or its underlying facts,” arguing the request to muzzle the CEO “cannot be reconciled with the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech and should be denied.”
It is the most recent development in the case, which also received additional developments last week. On Friday, Judge Chen ruled Musk’s claim that he was really considering taking Tesla private was false. Chen had pondered the legitimacy of Musk’s claims for some time before ultimately ruling Musk’s Tweet was not truthful. It was a major win for the shareholders.
The case will ultimately head to trial in San Francisco in January.
Filings from the suit state that Musk argued the investor group’s attorneys did not make any effort to show how comments made at the TED interview he participated in last week would make it to potential jurors in the case. During the interview last Thursday, Musk made several claims about the case, including he only accepted the terms of a consent decree with the SEC to save Tesla.
“Funding was indeed secured,” Musk said. “I should say, ‘Why do I not have respect for the SEC’ in that situation. I don’t mean to blame everyone at the SEC, but certainly the San Francisco office. The SEC knew that funding was secured,” Musk added. “They pursued an active public investigation, nonetheless.”
“I was told by the banks that if I chose not to settle with the SEC, the banks would cease providing working capital, and Tesla would go bankrupt immediately. That’s like having a gun to your child’s head.”
Musk was upset with the perception that agreeing to the decree was an admittance of guilt.
“It makes it look like I lied, when I did not, in fact, lie. I was forced to admit I lied to save Tesla’s life.”
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