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Elon Musk defends 2018 Tesla takeover tweet in class action trial testimony

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Investors don’t always react to his Twitter messages as expected after Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk expressed interest in taking Tesla private in a 2018 trial on Friday. told the jury. .

Musk’s testimony began with questions about his use of Twitter, a social media platform he purchased in October. He said it was the most democratic way of communicating, but said his tweets didn’t necessarily affect Tesla stock the way he hoped.

“Just because I tweet something doesn’t mean people will believe it or act on it,” Musk told a San Francisco federal court jury.

Musk gave testimony in less than 30 minutes before the court was adjourned to Monday, went unquestioned for a 2018 Twitter post, said he was considering taking Tesla private, and said he was “securing funds. I did,” he said.

He is expected to explain why he claimed to have had Saudi investors help him take Tesla private, but this never came to pass.

The lawsuit is a rare class action lawsuit in the securities industry, with plaintiffs already clearing a high legal hurdle and last year, U.S. Judge Edward Chen ruled that Musk’s posts were untruthful and reckless. has made a judgment.

Shareholders claimed Musk lied when he sent the tweets and hurt investors.

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Dressed in a dark suit over a white button-down shirt, Musk spoke calmly and at times with a bewildered look, in contrast to his sometimes belligerent testimony in past trials.

Musk described the difficulties Tesla experienced around the time it tweeted that “funding secured.”

“Wall Street’s shark pack wanted Tesla dead very badly,” he said, explaining the short-selling to profit when stocks plummeted.

He said short sellers should plant false stories and make the practice illegal.

Tesla shares closed Friday at $133.42, about 5% higher than the day before.

A woman on the left and a man on the right move a cart with boxes stacked along the sidewalk.
Documents related to a class action lawsuit on behalf of investors who owned Tesla shares in August 2018 were brought to federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday, January 17. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

Earlier Friday, Tesla investor Timothy Fries told jurors that he lost $5,000 by buying Tesla stock after Musk sent a tweet at the center of the lawsuit.

Mr. Fries said that “funding was secured” means that “some scrutiny, critical review of those funding sources has taken place.”

Musk wanted to protect shareholders, lawyer says

Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, told jurors in opening statements on Wednesday that Musk believes it is funded by Saudi backers and is taking steps to complete the deal.

Fearing media leaks, Musk tried to protect “everyday shareholders” by sending out tweets containing “technical inaccuracies,” Spiro said.

Harvard Law School professor Guhan Subramanian told jurors that Musk’s actions in 2018 were “unprecedented” in building corporate deals and “inconsistent.”

A nine-member jury will decide whether, and if so, how much, the tweet artificially inflated Tesla’s stock price by highlighting the deal’s financing.

Defendants include current and former Tesla directors, who Spiro said had “pure” motives in their reaction to Musk’s plan.

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