Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a surprise appearance in a San Francisco court on Friday as lawyers were preparing to give their closing arguments over whether his “funding secured” tweet. The trial has now wrapped up and the jury will now decide whether Musk’s 2018 tweet defrauded investors of billions of dollars.
UPDATE 3:00pm PT: After just a few hours of deliberation the jury has found Musk not guilty.
— Drive Tesla 🇨🇦 (@DriveTeslaca) February 3, 2023
The trial, which began three weeks ago, saw Musk and several other executives and board members take the stand to testify about their knowledge of the 2018 tweet. In Musk’s multi-day testimony he said that although he had nothing in writing from the Saudi investment fund, it had been conveyed to him that they would do whatever it takes to take Tesla private and that funding was not an issue, calling the tweet was “absolutely truthful.”
Musk also said that he could have used his own shares in SpaceX to take the company private if the deal fell through, but was later swayed by feedback from investors that the company should stay public. In his defense Tesla board chair Robyn Denholm testified that she would have quit if she felt as though Musk was trying to deceive investors about the deal.
The plaintiff’s lawyer attempted to paint a picture of a reckless Musk who defrauded investors of billions of dollars with the tweet which was not truthful, and that he knew there was no deal in place to take the company private. An expert witness for the plaintiff testified this week claiming losses amounted to as much as $12 billion in the 10 days following the infamous tweet.
Before the trial began Musk and his lawyers attempted to have the case moved out of San Francisco to Texas on the basis that “Mr. Musk’s use and relationship with Twitter generally as a result of this coverage will be unable to separate this baseline bias from the facts in this case and thus be unable to impartially evaluate Musk’s conduct.”