A jury cleared Elon Musk in a lawsuit accusing him of misleading investors through tweets claiming that he had secured financial support to take Tesla private.
Attorneys for some investors argued that the tweets were misleading and cost them billions of dollars.
A jury disagreed and cleared Musk after less than two hours of deliberation.
Musk tweeted on Aug. 7, 2018, that he had secured the funding to take the high-tech company private.
The company's stock soared over the next week, but the deal fell through, prompting a class action lawsuit against the tech billionaire. At stake were potentially billions of dollars in damages.
Nicholas Porritt, the attorney for Tesla shareholders, argued that Musk could not have seriously believed that he had secured funding for the deal after a short meeting with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund.
“Apparently a $60 billion financing commitment was obtained and no one wrote down a single word,” Porritt argued. “Elon Musk apparently thinks it is easier to get billions of dollars in financing than an auto loan or a mortgage."
Musk testified at the trial in his defense.
“I had no ill motive,” Musk said. “My intent was to do the right thing for all shareholders.”
Musk's attorney, Alex Spiro, reiterated the point in his closing argument, despite admitting that the tweets were "technically" inaccurate.
“He was trying to include the retail shareholder, the mom and pop, the little guy, and not seize more power for himself,” Spiro said.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen had told jurors to consider the lawsuit with the understanding that the tweets were false.
Musk issued another tweet after the trial ended, one of gratitude.
"Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed!" he tweeted.
"I am deeply appreciative of the jury’s unanimous finding of innocence in the Tesla 420 take-private case," he added.
Here's more about the lawsuit against Musk:
Elon Musk defiantly defends himself in Tesla tweet trial insisting he could have pulled the deal offwww.youtube.com
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