A U.S. jury found Elon Musk cheating in a 2018 tweet declaring he had the money to take Tesla private.
A nine-member jury ruled that when Tesla’s CEO tweeted in 2018 that he raised money to take his electric car company private, his company had no responsibility for misleading investors. .
Plaintiffs are claiming billions of dollars in damages, and the decision was seen as significant to Musk himself.
The jury rendered its verdict approximately two hours after deliberations began.
After the verdict, Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, told reporters, “The jury was right. He declined to speak further.
The world’s second-richest person has had legal and regulatory trouble with his impulsive use of Twitter, the social media company he acquired for $44 billion in October.
In recent months, Musk’s attention has been split between Tesla, his rocket company SpaceX, and now Twitter. Tesla investors have expressed concern that running his media company Social is taking too much of his focus.
Investors have sought billions of dollars in damages from Musk, Tesla and several company directors.
Earlier Friday, Musk sat stoically in court, before being vilified as a rich narcissist whose reckless behavior risks “anarchy,” a visionary looking for a “little man” as he closes out the court debate. It was welcomed with the light of the day.
Musk’s decision to attend closing arguments underscored the importance of the outcome of the trial to him, even though his attendance was not required.
stock price fell
Tesla shareholders have said Musk is considering taking the company private on August 7, 2018, at $420 per share, a premium of about 23% to the previous day’s closing price, and have said they will Secured,” he claims he misled them when he tweeted.
They say Musk lied when he tweeted “investor endorsement confirmed” later that day.
Shares soared after the tweet and fell again after August 17, 2018, when it became clear that the acquisition would not occur.
Nicholas Porritt, an attorney for Tesla shareholders, has urged jurors to denounce Mr. Musk’s “loose ties to the truth.”
“Our society is rule-based,” Polritt said. “Rules are needed to save us from anarchy. Rules should apply to Elon Musk just like everyone else.”
An economist hired by the shareholders calculated that investors would lose as much as $12 billion.
Musk defends tweet
During the three-week trial, Musk stood on the witness stand for nearly nine hours and told jurors he believed the tweets were true. The fund later withdrew its commitment, Musk said.
Musk later testified that he had sold enough shares in his rocket company, SpaceX, to finance the acquisition, and that SpaceX shares alone “felt the money was secured.”
Musk testified that he tweeted to put large investors and small shareholders on the same page who knew about the deal. However, he admitted that formal commitments from the Saudi foundation and other potential backers were lacking.
He said his tweets in general don’t always affect Tesla stock the way he hopes.
Musk’s lawyer, Spiro, said Musk’s ‘funding secured’ tweet was ‘technically inaccurate’ but investors only care that Musk is considering an acquisition. said.
“The whole case is based on bad word choice,” he said. “Who cares about bad word choices?”
“Just because it’s a bad tweet doesn’t mean it’s a scam,” Spiro said in his closing argument.
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