By TOM KRISHER
AP Auto Writer
DETROIT (AP) — A lawyer for Tesla CEO Elon Musk says in court documents that U.S. Securities regulators are unlawfully muzzling his client. In a legal brief appealing a lower court’s decision, the lawyer accuses the Securities and Exchange Commission of violating Musk’s free speech rights. He contends in a brief filed late Tuesday that the SEC is continually trying to enforce the 2018 securities fraud settlement. The agency is chilling Musk’s speech with the threat of investigations and prosecution. Under the settlement, Musk and Tesla each agreed to pay $20 million in civil fines over Musk’s tweets about having the “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420 per share. The agreement requires Musk to get tweets about the company approved by a lawyer before they are posted.