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Judge orders Elon Musk to testify in SEC probe of his $44 billion Twitter takeover in 2022

SAN FRANCISCO — (AP) — A judge has ordered Elon Musk to testify for a third time as part of the Securities and Exchange Commission's investigation into his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, now called X, in 2022.

Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler issued an order Saturday giving Musk, his team and the SEC a week to agree on a date and location for Musk’s testimony. In a court hearing last December, Beeler said she would issue an order if the two sides couldn't agree on when and where the Tesla and SpaceX CEO would testify.

“The parties, at least initially, agreed to a date but 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,” Beeler wrote in the order in federal court in Northern California.

“Also, 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 U.S. Constitution, she added.

Beeler said, however, that the court is enforcing the SEC's subpoena and that the testimony is “not unduly burdensome” for Musk. The SEC had given Musk the option to testify in Texas, where he lives.

The SEC has been conducting a fact-finding investigation into the period before Musk’s Twitter takeover, when the San Francisco-based social media company was still publicly traded. The agency said it has not concluded any federal securities laws were violated.

Musk has already testified in the case twice. But since then, according to the judge's order, the SEC has received “thousands of new documents” from various parties, including hundreds of documents from Musk.

He closed his $44 billion agreement to buy Twitter and take it private in October 2022, after a monthslong legal battle with the social media company’s previous leadership.

After signing a deal to acquire Twitter in April 2022, Musk tried to back out of it, leading the company to sue him to force him to go through with the acquisition.

The SEC and a lawyer for Musk did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Monday.

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