Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has defended a recent tweet that prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission to ask a judge to hold the entrepreneur in contempt for violating their settlement.
On February 19, Musk tweeted that “Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019.” He later corrected that tweet stating “Meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k.”
As part of a settlement Musk reached with the SEC last year after his now-infamous ‘take Tesla private’ tweet, the chief executive agreed to have the company oversee his tweeting and approve any tweets before they’re published. Tesla admitted that it didn’t approve Musk’s initial February 19 tweet.
In a new development, Musk’s attorneys have produced a 33-page document defending the tweet. In the document, it is argued that Musk’s production-related tweet “was a shorthand gloss on topics that had already been covered in depth in company filings and an earnings call with analysts.”
“Any reasonable investor would have read the tweet with reference to the much more thorough disclosures and extensive discussions on the same topics,” the document states.
In addition, Musk’s lawyers assert that the SEC is looking for an “unconstitutional power grab” in its pursuit of Musk and assert that it is retaliation for the outspoken executive recently stating, “I do not respect the SEC.”
Reuters reports that the SEC has received permission from a federal judge to respond to Musk’s defense of his tweet. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will have until March 19 to file a brief and both parties have until March 26 to request an evidentiary hearing.
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