“Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people prevailed! I am deeply grateful for the jury’s unanimous decision of innocence”
Tesla founder Elon Musk has been acquitted of fraud charges over a tweet claiming he has “finance secured” to take the electric carmaker private. The Twitter owner faced a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Tesla shareholders who claimed they were duped with his posts in August 2018.
Had a jury in San Francisco found him liable, Musk could have been ordered to pay billions of dollars in damages. Musk – who had wanted the trial to move to Texas, where Tesla is based, arguing that he could not get a fair trial in San Francisco – welcomed the acquittal the nine jurors handed down in less than two hours.
On Twitter, the social media platform he bought for $44 billion last October, he posted: “Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed! I am deeply grateful for the jury’s unanimous decision of innocence in the private case of Tesla 420”. At the heart of the lawsuit was Musk’s tweet on Aug. 7, 2018: “I’m considering taking Tesla private at $420. Financing secured.” The plaintiffs had argued that Musk had lied when he tweeted that “investor support is confirmed.” The stock price immediately rose after the tweets, but fell again within days after it was clear the deal wasn’t going to go through. Investor losses have been calculated as high as $12 billion, according to an economist hired by the shareholders.