Elon Musk has taken the witness stand to refute allegations that Tesla shareholders were defrauded of billions of dollars over his 2018 tweets.
CEO Written in 2018 He had “secured” funding to take the electric car maker private, and investor support was later “confirmed,” causing stock prices to rise and then fall.
less than three weeks later, Musk dropped the plan.
Investors who bought and sold stocks in the days after the tweet Unspecified damages are being soughtbut claim muskTweets cost them “billions of dollars”.
The trial heard that Musk’s social media admissions led to a $40m (£32m) settlement with securities regulators and a class action accusing him of misleading investors, and he was forced to step down as company chairman .
The 51-year-old billionaire, who has run Twitter since buying the platform for $44 billion last October, made a roughly half-hour court appearance on Friday, testifying under oath to a nine-member jury and a room packed with reporters. other viewers.
The trial was then adjourned to the weekend, and Musk was told to return on Monday to answer more questions.
Judge Edward Chen previously rejected Musk’s request to transfer the case to the state of Texas, where the billionaire expressed concern that potential jurors in California would be biased against him.
In his initial remarks to the court, the business tycoon defended his prolific tweets as the “most democratic way” of distributing information, while acknowledging that Twitter’s 240-character limit could make it as difficult to read as possible clear.
“I think you can definitely tell the truth,” Musk said. [on Twitter].
“But can it be comprehensive? Of course not.”
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When it was found that the funds to take Tesla private could not be secured, Musk resigned as chairman as part of the SEC settlement while remaining CEO, but he has not admitted any wrongdoing.
The jury’s attention was focused on the billionaire, dressed in a dark suit and tie, as he answered questions from attorney Nicholas Porritt, who represented Tesla shareholders.
“The level of pain…excruciating”
Asked about the challenges Tesla faced in 2018, he described spending many nights at the automaker’s California factory trying to keep the company afloat.
“The level of pain that made Tesla successful during 2017, 2018 was excruciating,” he told the court.
The trial over Musk’s Tesla tweets comes as he has been preoccupied with Twitter while also serving as the automaker’s CEO and remaining deeply involved in the rocket ship company he founded, SpaceX.
His tweeted acquisitions proved unpopular among Tesla’s current shareholders, who feared that he would draw less attention to the automaker amid heightened competition — leading to Tesla Shares have fallen 65% in the last year, wiping more than $700bn (£565bn) of shareholder wealth off their market value.