Tesla’s Elon Musk ordered by US judge to testify in SEC Twitter probe

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks with Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, during the Ira C. Eaker Distinguished Speaker Presentation in the Academy's Arnold Hall on April 7, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor cokley)

US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler has ordered Tesla CEO Elon Musk to testify in the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) probe of his acquisition of social media platform Twitter, which was later rebranded to X. 

As per the federal court ruling, which was released on Saturday, Musk and the SEC are given a week to agree on a date and location for the CEO’s testimony. Musk had reportedly refused to attend an interview that was set in September. 

Judge Beeler referenced this in the order, noting that while Musk and the SEC had previously agreed to a meeting, but Musk did not comply. “Ultimately, the respondent did not appear and resists the subpoena on the grounds that the SEC’s investigation is baseless and harassing and seeks irrelevant information,” the order noted.

As noted in a report from The Guardian, the SEC filed a legal action against Musk to compel him to testify in an investigation into his $44 billion acquisition of X, then known as Twitter. The agency is also looking to secure Musk’s testimony to determine if the CEO had followed the law when he filed paperwork relating to his purchases of Twitter stock. 

Musk’s legal team had previously argued that the CEO had already been interviewed twice by the SEC. The CEO also accused the regulator of harassment, as noted in a Reuters report. Beeler, however, rejected the claims of Musk’s legal team, stating that the SEC had the authority to issue a subpoena to seek relevant information. 

“He contends that the subpoena —issued by an SEC staff member appointed by the SEC’s Director of Enforcement — exceeds the SEC’s authority because it was not issued by an officer appointed by the President, a court, or the head of a department, as required by the Appointments Clause of the US Constitution. 

“The court enforces the subpoena: the evidence is relevant and material to the SEC’s investigation, and the testimony is not unduly burdensome. As to the argument that the subpoena exceeds the SEC’s authority, the Exchange Act authorizes the subpoena, and the staff attorneys who issue subpoenas are not inferior officers subject to the Appointments Clause,” the Judge wrote. 

Judge Laurel Beeler’s order can be viewed below. 

Elon Musk Twitter SEC by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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Tesla’s Elon Musk ordered by US judge to testify in SEC Twitter probe
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