Billionaire Elon Musk filed an appeal Thursday regarding a Securities and Exchange Commission order limiting his ability to speak publicly about his businesses.
In a Thursday filing, the owner of X, CEO of Tesla, and founder of SpaceX asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider a lower court's decision earlier this year that upheld the SEC consent decree.
The decree was issued after Musk made a series of social media posts in August 2018 saying he was preparing to take Tesla private, significantly influencing the company's market price. He later backed out.
Per the consent decree, both Musk and Tesla had to pay $20 million in fines, Musk gave up his role as Tesla's chair, and the billionaire was forced to let a company lawyer review some of his posts.
Musk's appeal argues that the SEC agreement falls under a "prior restraint" of Musk's First Amendment speech rights and should be thrown out, according to The Hill.
"The pro-approval provision in Mr. Musk's consent decree ... is a quintessential prior restraint that the law forbids," his attorneys wrote. "It chills Mr. Musk's speech through never-ending threats of contempt, fines or even imprisonment for otherwise protected speech if not pre-approved to the SEC's or a court's satisfaction."
In 2021, three years after the first incident, Musk was accused of trying to manipulate Tesla's stock price again when he polled his followers about whether he should sell 1/10 of his stock in the company.
No legal action was taken in regard to that incident.
However, Musk is facing another SEC investigation over his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, which he renamed X. The agency asked a federal judge in November to force the billionaire to testify.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
Luca Cacciatore ✉
Luca Cacciatore, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is based in Arlington, Virginia, reporting on news and politics.
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