Jury acquits Musk in shareholder suit over Tesla tweets
New York, Feb 3 (EFE).- A United States federal jury in San Francisco found Friday that Elon Musk bears no liability for losses incurred by investors in Tesla as a result of his tweets about taking the electric car company private.
The seven men and two women deliberated for less than two hours.
Musk, reputedly the world’s second-wealthiest person, and Tesla could have been required to pay billions of dollars in damages if the jury had found in favor of the shareholders who brought the civil suit.
The plaintiffs asserted that Musk knowingly misled the public with a pair of tweets on Aug. 7, 2018.
“Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” the South African-born mogul wrote. “Investor support is confirmed. Only reason why this is not certain is that it’s contingent on a shareholder vote.”
The tweets spurred a dramatic rise in the value of Tesla shares, but the stock price plummeted within weeks as it became clear that Musk had not secured the necessary financing.
Senior District Judge Edward M. Chen ruled during the course of the trial that Musk’s claims of having secured funding and support from investors were untrue.
The jurors, according to The Wall Street Journal, said that the plaintiffs did not provide sufficient evidence that Musk’s tweets caused them financial harm.
“The jury got it right. That’s all I’m going to say,” one of the lawyers for Musk and Tesla, Alex Spiro, said after hearing the verdict, which came a few months after the billionaire acquired Twitter.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Musk over the tweets in 2018, but the parties settled out of court.
Besides paying $40 million in fines to the SEC, Musk agreed to step down as Tesla chairman – while remaining CEO – and to submit certain statements regarding the company to an attorney for review before posting them on social media. EFE nqs/dr