After months of anticipation and a two-day trial, Elon Musk has been declared not guilty by a jury in the class action lawsuit filed against him over tweets he made about taking Tesla private.
Musk was accused of making false statements that could have resulted in billions of dollars in damages for shareholders.
But, after less than two hours of deliberation, the jury found the Tesla CEO not guilty.
On Aug. 7, 2018, Musk tweeted that he had gotten the money he needed to take the company private.
Over the next seven days, the company’s stock price skyrocketed.
However, when the deal eventually fell through, a class action lawsuit was launched against the tech tycoon.
Billions of dollars in damages were at risk if Musk lost.
Nicholas Porritt, representing Tesla shareholders, emphatically argued that Musk could not have honestly thought he had obtained enough capital for the transaction after just one brief discussion with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund.
Porritt argued, “Apparently, a $60 billion financing commitment was obtained, and no one wrote down a single word? Elon Musk apparently thinks it is easier to get billions of dollars in financing than an auto loan or a mortgage.“
Musk took the stand and defended himself at trial stating, “I had no ill motive, my intent was to do the right thing for all shareholders.”
Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro said, “He was trying to include the retail shareholder, the mom and pop, the little guy, and not seize more power for himself.”
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen instructed jurors to evaluate the case based on the assumption that the tweets in question were inaccurate and untrue.
After the trial was finished, Musk expressed his appreciation in a tweet, saying, “Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed! I am deeply appreciative of the jury’s unanimous finding of innocence in the Tesla 420 take-private case.“
The jury’s not-guilty verdict in Elon Musk’s class action lawsuit should be seen as a victory for the tech tycoon and a reminder of the importance of due diligence when making business transactions.
Although it is easy to rely on assumptions about deals like these, all parties involved must understand what is being agreed upon during the negotiations.
Ultimately, justice was served in this case, and hopefully, we can learn from it moving forward.
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