A judge just set a deadline for Elon Musk to defend himself against the SEC's claims that he is in contempt of court

Elon Musk Tesla

REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the January 7 Gigafactory groundbreaking ceremony in Shanghai.

A federal judge has ordered Tesla CEO Elon Musk to explain by March 11 why he should not be held in contempt Reuters reported Tuesday.

On Monday, the SEC - the US' top stock market regulator - accused Musk of violating his agreement with the agency stemming from his failed attempt to take the automaker private.Advertisement

That $20 million settlement was breached, the SEC claims, when Musk last week tweeted projected production numbers for Tesla that differed from the company's regulatory disclosures. Shortly after, Musk clarified his tweet.

Read more: 'How embarrassing': Elon Musk fired back at the SEC in latest fight over Tesla production numbers

"Musk did not seek or receive pre-approval prior to publishing this tweet, which was inaccurate and disseminated to over 24 million people," the SEC said in a filing with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

"Musk has thus violated the court's final judgment by engaging in the very conduct that the pre-approval provision of the final judgment was designed to prevent."

A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on the SEC filing Monday.On Tuesday, Musk showed little sign of backing down from his previous disputes with the federal regulator. Advertisement

"SEC forgot to read Tesla earnings transcript, which clearly states 350k to 500k. How embarrassing …," Musk tweeted Monday evening. And on Tuesday morning he followed up by saying that 'something is broken' at the SEC.

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