Elon Musk takes the stand in trial over 2018 Tesla tweet

Tesla CEO Elon Musk lost millions to shareholders in a jury trial over a 2018 Twitter post that he had “secured funding” to take the electric car maker private. It claims to have lost as much as a dollar.

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, who is known for his combative testimony, was expected to explain why he claimed that he had Saudi investors back him in taking Tesla private, but that did not happen.

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.

Tesla investor Timothy Fries told jurors on Friday 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’s attorney, Alex Spiro, told jurors in his opening statement 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” and “inconsistent” in building corporate deals. rice field.

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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