Tesla CEO Elon Musk Faces US Fraud Trial
After a federal judge denied Elon Musk’s request to move the case out of California, he will stand trial on Tuesday for allegedly manipulating the stock market with a tweet.
The case started in August 2018, when Elon Musk tweeted that he had enough money to take Tesla private. This sent the share price of the company into a tailspin.
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Shareholders quickly sued Musk for allegedly costing them billions of dollars when he said on Twitter that money was “secured” to buy them out of the company.
A court spokesperson said that on Friday, Judge Edward Chen turned down a request to move the case to Texas, where Musk moved Tesla’s headquarters and where jury selection is set to start on Tuesday.
Defense lawyers had said that the multibillionaire wouldn’t get a fair trial in San Francisco, where he bought Twitter at the end of October and has been criticized for his decisions since taking over the social media company.
Musk fired more than half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, most of whom worked in San Francisco. He also made big changes to how the site moderates content.
In a filing, the CEO’s lawyers said, “Over the last few months, the local media have filled this district with biased and negative stories about Mr. Musk. This has led to… highly prejudicial biases in the jury pool.”
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“In a change from how they usually cover these kinds of stories, the local media have blamed Mr. Musk personally for the cuts and even said he broke the law,” the lawyers said.
Bloomberg says that at the hearing, Judge Chen said he was sure that fair jurors could be chosen.
Authorities have already paid attention to Musk’s short tweet from 2018.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which is in charge of the US stock market, told Musk that he had to step down as chairman of the board of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine.
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