Elon Musk Trial Over Tesla Tweets Heads to Opening Statements

A lawyer representing Tesla investors claimed on Wednesday that company CEO Elon Musk lied when he tweeted that funding had been secured to take Tesla Inc. private in 2018.

Elon Musk Trial Over Tesla Tweets Heads to Opening Statements
Image credit: observerny

Facts

  • A lawyer representing Tesla investors claimed on Wednesday that company CEO Elon Musk lied when he tweeted that funding had been secured to take Tesla Inc. private in 2018.
  • Lawyers claim that investors lost billions after the Twitter claim drove up the company's share price. According to the investors' representatives, as Musk tweeted, "regular people" watched their money evaporate.
  • Arguments began on Wednesday accusing Musk of fraud, as Tesla investor Glen Littleton is seeking to reclaim "billions" in damages on behalf of shareholders. Musk's defense team has claimed that the CEO was well-intended and merely used the "wrong words" in his tweet.
  • Securities regulators deemed the tweets "improper" and called them lies, after which Musk reached a $40M settlement that required him to step down as Tesla chairman. However, Judge Edward Chen has ruled that the shareholders' lawyers cannot mention the settlement during the current case.
  • Musk's lawyer, Alex Spiro, has asserted that the billionaire's actions were "not even close" to fraud. Musk himself is expected to take the stand as early as this week for both sides, with the trial resuming on Friday.

Sources: Reuters, Silicon, Guardian, MSN, and Market Screener.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Yahoo Finance. While Musk may have built a cult-following, his tweets, public comments, and thin skin have done considerable damage and he should be held to account for the irresponsible use of his public influence. The prosecution must establish control and ensure that the jury is not won over by Musk's charisma.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Elon Musk Fans. There is a real concern about potential bias within the court's jury in this case, as San Fransisco has been flooded with negative media stories and accounts from politicians about the billionaire. Much like the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, Musk will unjustly start his defense on the back foot.

Predictions