Elon Musk found not guilty of fraud over 2018 Tesla tweet

SAN FRANCISCO: A jury on Friday decided Elon musk didn’t mislead investors with his 2018 tweets about the electric carmaker Tesla in a proposed deal that quickly unraveled and raised the question of whether the billionaire was deceiving investors.
The nine-member jury reached its verdict after less than two hours of deliberation after a three-week trial. It represents a major vindication for Musk, who spent about eight hours on the witness stand defending his motives for the August 2018 tweets at the heart of the trial.
Musk, 51, was not present to read the brief sentence but he made a surprise appearance the previous Friday to conclude arguments that have painted quite different portraits of him.
Not long after the ruling was made, Musk was Twitter – the bully podium he currently owns – to celebrate.
“Thank goodness, human wisdom prevailed!” Musk tweeted.
Michael Freedman, a former federal prosecutor who is now in private practice, said Musk’s decision to waive his other responsibilities to participate in the final arguments even though he wasn’t necessarily present in court. that may have impacted jurors. for a law firm that has represented celebrities and business executives.
“It shows he has a presence,” says Freedman.
Nicholas Porritt, an attorney representing Tesla’s disgruntled investors, said he was disappointed after urging jurors in his final argument to rebuke Musk for “risky reckless behavior.” creating “chaos”.
“I don’t think this is the behavior we would expect from a large public company,” said Porritt dejectedly after discussing the verdict with a few jurors who had gathered to speak with him. “People can draw their own conclusions about whether they think it’s okay or not.”
In discussion with Porritt, jurors told them they found Musk’s testimony that he believed he had transferred money from the Saudi Public Investment Fund without a written commitment. is reliable. They also expressed doubt as to whether Musk’s tweet was the only reason Tesla’s stock price fluctuated over the 10-day period in August 2018 mentioned in the incident.
The trial pitted Tesla investors represented in a class-action lawsuit against Musk, the CEO of both the electric car maker and the Twitter service he bought for $44 billion. a few months ago.
Just before boarding his private jet on August 7, 2018, Musk tweeted that he had enough funding to take Tesla private, although it turns out he didn’t receive a firm commitment to a deal. worth 20 billion dollars. 70 billion dollars to make. Hours later, Musk sent out another tweet suggesting a deal was imminent.
Musk’s integrity was threatened at trial as well as part of his fortune that made him one of the richest people in the world. He could have been hit with a multi-billion dollar damages bill if the jury had found him to be liable for 2018 tweets that were found false by the presiding judge. truth.
That decision, made last year by US District Judge Edward Chen, left it to a jury to decide whether Musk was reckless with his tweets and acted in a way that hurt the company’s shareholders. Tesla or not.
“Maybe it’s not that hard for the jury, because it’s like a vote for or against,” Freedman said.
Earlier on Friday, Musk sat sternly in court during the final argument of the trial while he was both vilified as a wealthy and reckless narcissist and hailed as a man of great importance. visionary for the “little guy”.
During the hour-long presentation, Porritt pleaded with jurors to reprimand Musk for his “loose relationship with the truth.”
“Our society is based on rules,” says Porritt. “We need rules to save us from chaos. The rules should apply to Elon Musk like everyone else.”
Alex Spiro, Musk’s attorney, admitted the 2018 tweets were “technically incorrect”. But he told the jury, “Just because it’s a bad tweet doesn’t mean it’s a scam.”
During the roughly eight hours before the trial, Musk asserted that he believed he had arranged funds from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund to take Tesla private after eight years as a public company. He defended his first August 2018 tweet as being in good faith and aimed to ensure that all Tesla investors know that the automaker could be on the way to closing. cease operations as a public company.
“I have no bad motives,” Musk testified. “My intention is to do the right thing for all shareholders.”
Spiro repeated that theme in his final argument.
“He’s trying to appeal to retail shareholders, moms and celebs, the little guy and doesn’t take any more power for himself,” Spiro said.
Meanwhile, Porritt scoffed at the notion that Musk might have concluded he had a firm commitment after a 45-minute meeting at the Tesla factory on July 31, 2018, with Yasir al-Rumayyan, Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund governor, as there were no written documents.
During his 90-minute presentation, Spiro highlighted Musk’s track record of helping to start and run a list of companies that include digital payments pioneer PayPal and rocket ship maker SpaceX, other than Tesla. The Austin, Texas-based automaker is now worth nearly $600 billion, despite a steep drop in stock prices last year due to concerns that Musk’s acquisition of Twitter would distract him from Tesla.
Recalling Musk’s roots as a South African immigrant who came to Silicon Valley to found revolutionary technology companies, Spiro describes his clients as “the type of person who believes the impossible is possible. “


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