In this trial, Elon Musk is being tried for whether his 2018 tweets defrauded Tesla Inc. investors. The opposing sides were arguing to U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, whose question about whether it’s “metaphysically possible” for plaintiffs to prove a “material misrepresentation” prompted Musk to laugh out loud. The jury has heard weeks of testimony about whether Musk’s tweets in August 2018 about taking the electric-car maker private with “funding secured” amount to fraud. Investment banking witnesses previously testified that even a week after the tweets, they were still working to figure out how the deal would be structured, including who would pay for it.
Musk’s defense is that he knew he could raise as much as $60 billion to take Tesla private based on a handshake deal with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. He spent a little more than two days on the witness stand, telling jurors that his “funding secured” tweet was “absolutely truthful,” and that he had an “unequivocal” commitment by Saudi Arabia even though he had nothing in writing.
The trial of Elon Musk is coming to a close, as the jury is in the process of determining whether or not his 2018 tweets defrauded Tesla Inc. investors. During the trial, opposing sides argued in front of U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, with Musk himself taking the stand for two days to explain his defense. Musk argued that he had an “unequivocal” commitment from Saudi Arabia to provide the necessary funding to take Tesla private, even though he had nothing in writing. Investment banking witnesses testified that even a week after the tweets, they were still working to figure out how the deal would be structured.
The outcome of this trial could have far-reaching implications for the future of Tesla and Musk himself. If found guilty, Musk could be liable for billions of dollars in damages and could face criminal charges. It is now up to the jury to decide if Musk’s tweets were indeed fraudulent and if he should be held accountable. Whatever the outcome, this trial will be remembered as a key turning point in the history of Tesla and Elon Musk.
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