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Tesla CEO Elon Musk loses court bid to end ‘Twitter sitter’ deal with SEC

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Elon Musk lost a bid to undo his 2018 agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that led to reviews of his Tesla Inc.-related tweets by an in-house official who’s been referred to as the chief executive officer’s “Twitter Sitter.”

A judge in New York on Wednesday also denied Musk’s effort to block an SEC subpoena seeking information about Tesla’s public-disclosure controls.

Musk last month asked the judge to end oversight of his tweets, claiming the SEC is harassing him with excessively broad investigative demands and that the 2018 deal violates his right to free speech. He rejected the agency’s arguments that he freely agreed to the limits and that review of his tweets by a company securities lawyer doesn’t amount to government regulation of his speech. The judge agreed with the SEC.

“Musk cannot now seek to retract the agreement he knowingly and willingly entered by simply bemoaning that he felt like he had to agree to it at the time but now — once the specter of the litigation is a distant memory and his company has become, in his estimation, all but invincible — wishes that he had not,” U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman in Manhattan wrotes in his opinion.

The ruling comes as Musk, 50, appears to have clinched his bid to buy Twitter.

The case is U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Musk, 18-cv-08865, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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