Tweet: Elon Musk “not guilty” of fraud following Tesla sale

In a fraud trial, Elon Musk was cleared of any liability for investors’ losses. He falsely claimed that he had obtained funding for a private Tesla buyout.

The Tesla share price went on a rollercoaster ride after the tweets. Mr Musk was sued by shareholders for recklessly trying to squeeze investors who had placed bets against him.

After a two-hour delay, jurors returned to San Francisco to declare unanimously that neither Mr Musk nor Tesla board committed fraud in the tweets or their aftermath.

“Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people prevailed!” On Twitter, Musk wrote.

“I deeply appreciate the unanimous verdict of innocence by the jury in the Tesla 420 Take-Private Case.”

The billionaire tried before but was unsuccessful in getting the trial moved to Texas. He claimed that California jurors would be biased against him.

Glen Littleton’s attorney, Nicholas Porritt, represented other Tesla investors. He argued that the case was about ensuring the wealthy and powerful abide by the stock market rules.

“Elon Musk published false tweets with reckless disregard for their truth,” Mr Porritt stated to the nine jurors at closing arguments.

He cited expert testimony that estimated that Musk’s claim regarding funding had cost investors billions of money. Therefore, he suggested that Musk and his board of directors should be held liable for damages.

Alex Spiro, an attorney, successfully defended Mr Musk. He claimed that while the billionaire might have made a mistake in his tweets, he didn’t intend to deceive anyone.

Spiro also described the mercurial entrepreneur who now runs Twitter as having had a difficult childhood and coming to America as a poor young man chasing his dreams.

This case revolved around two tweets by Musk, in which he stated that funding was secured for a project to purchase the publicly traded electric automaker. A second tweet said that Musk had added that investor support was confirmed.

“He wrote two words, ‘funding secured’, that were technically incorrect,” Mr Spiro stated to the court.

“Whatever your opinion of him, this trial isn’t a bad Twitterer trial. It’s a did they prove that this man committed fraud?’ trial.”

Musk claimed that he started tweeting about the issue after reading a Financial Times article about a Saudi Arabian investment firm looking to buy a stake in Tesla.

The trial occurred at a delicate time for Musk who has been criticized for his chaotic takeover of Twitter. He has laid off more than half the 7,500 employees and reduced content moderation.

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