FILE- In this March 14, 2019, file photo Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y at Tesla's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. A federal judge will hear oral arguments Thursday, April 4, about whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk should be held in contempt of court for violating an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

As Tesla heads to court, shares fall as deliveries slow

April 04, 2019 - 10:13 am

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge will hear oral arguments Thursday about whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk should be held in contempt of court for violating an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC says Musk violated the settlement when he tweeted about Tesla's vehicle production in February without a lawyer's approval.

It's unclear if Musk plans to attend the hearing. Musk has said his tweet didn't need pre-approval because it wasn't new information that would be meaningful to investors. His attorneys say the SEC is violating his first amendment rights to free speech.

Meanwhile, Tesla's shares are falling 9% in early trading after the company said it churned out 77,100 vehicles in the first quarter, well behind the pace it must sustain to fulfill Musk's pledge to manufacture 500,000 cars annually.

Tesla also said it only delivered 63,000 vehicles in the quarter, down 31% from 2018's fourth quarter.

As of Wednesday's close, Tesla shares were down 12.3% so far this year.

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