Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report CEO Elon Musk's battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission continued with a showdown in court on Thursday where Judge Alison Nathan ordered both sides back to the negotiation table, giving attorneys for Musk and the SEC two weeks to sort out their differences in the case.
The regulator weeks ago asked Nathan to hold Musk in contempt over a February tweet that misstated, and then clarified, a 2019 production forecast for Tesla vehicles. The agency argued that the tweets demonstrated that no one at Tesla was really keeping watch on Musk's communications as was mandated by a 2018 settlement with the agency. Musk's attorneys countered that the standard for what tweets must be reviewed wasn't clear enough to charge Musk with contempt.
"Tesla still appears to be unwilling to exercise any meaningful control over the conduct of its CEO," said Cheryl Crumpton, the counsel representing the SEC. Crumpton didn't recommend that Musk be required to step down as CEO or as a board of Tesla, but instead asked Nathan to impose a "series of escalating fines" for future violations.
While Musk has thumbed his nose at the SEC on multiple occasions, he made a point of expressing regard for Nathan in a comment to reporters after the hearing.
"I have great respect for Judge Nathan, and I'm pleased with her decision (Thursday). The tweet in question was true, immaterial to shareholders, and in no way a violation of my agreement with the SEC," Musk said.
Jim Cramer said that he considers the hearing a "win" for Tesla, because he believes that the judge "punted."
Related. A Review of Judge Nathan's Positions