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Tipsheet

Elon Musk Wins Big Victory In Lawsuit Regarding 2018 Tweets

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

A jury cleared Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s name, not holding him liable for tweets vowing to take Tesla private. 

On Friday, nine jurors reached a verdict after less than two hours of deliberation, finding that Musk did not deceive investors with his 2018 tweets regarding his claims that he had funding secured to take Tesla private at $420 per share.

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Musk has previously pushed back on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's allegations that he broke the law. 

Since his tweets, Musk claimed that he believed Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had committed to back the effort, however, it turned out that this fell through, quickly aborting the deal that would have cost him $20 billion to $70 billion. 

Investors though still sued Musk and Tesla for fraud by knowingly and/or recklessly making the claims, resulting in investment losses.

The case centered around two tweets. One where Musk announced that the funding had been secured, the other, just a few hours late, where he said the deal was imminent. 

In response to the tweets, Twitter’s stock surged for 10 days, benefiting from a deal that never went through. 

During the trial, Musk was portrayed both as a self-centered rich CEO and someone who was praised for looking out for the “little guy.” 

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Alex Spiro, Musk’s attorney, argued that “just because it is a bad tweet, doesn’t make it fraud,” acknowledging Musk’s 2018 tweets were inaccurate. 

While on the stand, the Twitter CEO defended his actions, saying that he truly believe the deal had been secured, and that his tweets were nothing but well-intentioned. 

“I had no ill motive,” Musk testified, adding “my intent was to do the right thing for all shareholders.”

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