Elon Musk shows up in court over tweets

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Is this some kind of early April Fools' Day prank or simply Musk's unusual attempt to bring Harambe memes back three years later?

Shares of Tesla plunged during Thursday trading after the company disclosed that first-quarter deliveries of its vehicles fell 31 percent from the previous three-month period, warning that its first-quarter income would be negatively impacted.

Tesla began constructing a factory in China to build the Model 3 and future Model Y compact-SUV for that market, and CEO Elon Musk has told reporters he intends on building an assembly plant in Europe.

Under the agreement hashed out a year ago, Musk was supposed to stop tweeting about Tesla's business without a lawyer's approval.

The SEC ruling came after an extraordinary episode in August, when Musk inaccurately claimed he had an investor for the troubled company, sending the company's share price soaring.

Even so, Nathan said court-supervised agreements must be obeyed.

Judge Nathan seemed frustrated by the entire situation, stating that she had "serious concerns that, whatever I decide here, the issue will not be finally resolved".

"Being a Tesla shareholder in recent years has been one of those sensations that usually has one reaching for the travel sickness tablets".

The SEC says its deal doesn't restrict Musk's freedom of speech because as long as his statements are not false or misleading, they would be approved.

Separately, Tesla shares fell more than 8 percent after after the electric auto maker reported that vehicle shipments slumped 31 percent from a year earlier.

In the quarter, Tesla delivered 50,900 Model 3s, the linchpin of its growth strategy, falling short of analysts' estimates of 58,900, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. The company's manufacturing process also slowed during a rocky start to the new year.

Musk, whose attorneys were set to appear in federal court Thursday as the Securities and Exchange Commission tries to persuade a judge to hold him in contempt over unauthorized tweets, alluded to the delivery problems in the company's last quarterly earnings call, Tesla noted.