Tesla CEO Elon Musk told a jury in San Francisco on Monday that he was considering taking. Tesla private after tweeting in 2018 that he had “secured” funding to do so — and. That the funding was going to come in part from his stake in SpaceX. , Musk’s Rocket Company.
But attorney Nicholas Porritt. Who represents the Tesla shareholder plaintiffs in . The case, argued that in previous depositions on the matter. Musk never mentioned SpaceX. Porritt argued that the tweet was based on . Musk’s conversation with officials at Saudi Arabia’s Public. Investment Fund, a deal that was far from materializing.
Musk is being sued by Tesla investors . Who claim the tech-private tweets in August 2018 caused them to lose large amounts of money. US District Judge Edward Chen has already ruled . that the tweet was false and reckless — but believes he can convince the jury that he didn’t know. The tweet was false when he sent it, and that Tesla’s stock price movement was not in any case. Linked to his tweet.
“because I tweet something doesn’t mean people are going to believe it or act on it. Musk told a jury in San Francisco federal court on Friday.
Because the judge has already ruled that the “funds are protected” tweet was reckless. Porritt must convince the jury that Musk lied in the tweet and. That it cost shareholders millions of dollars.
On the witness stand Monday, continued to defend his thinking behind the tweet. Saying it was designed to reassure shareholders ahead of an article published by. The Financial Times that the Saudis had taken a $2 billion position in the company.
In his questioning of M. Porritt went through a litany of acceptable behaviors such as consulting. lawyers or consulting with the company’s board of directors . That he argued Musk should have done before tweeting about taking . Tesla private but which he said ignored.
Porritt also argued that there was no basis for . Musk to disclose that the funds were secured. Given that no documents were produced about any agreement.
But Musk insisted that the reasoning behind. The tweet was sound, based on statements he made that a Saudi official relayed to him.
“In previous investments they made. There was no price negotiation, no documents signed,” Musk said. He added: “It is reasonable to expect that they will behave in the same way in the future as in the past.”
Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, asked. Musk if he thought he was being truthful when he sent the “funding secured” tweet.
Kasturi says he did.
“I thought we had a deal — a done deal,” Musk said of the offer to take Tesla private.
Musk said he was motivated to tweet about the deal to make sure Tesla investors were aware of the proposal.
“It’s important that all investors have the same information when making a decision to buy or sell. … I wanted to make sure that all investors, big and small, have the same information,” said on the witness stand.
At one point, Musk said he believed he had raised more money. than anyone else in history — because “investors trust me to be honest and. Responsible with their money,” he said.
In opening statements last week, Spiro said believed he had financing from . Saudi backers and was taking steps to make the deal happen. Fearing a leak to the media, Musk tried to protect “everyday shareholders” by sending the tweet. Which contained “technical errors,” Spiro said.
Porritt argued that Musk knew that a deal between . Tesla and Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund had yet to materialize.
Litigation is a rarity: most . Shareholder lawsuits are either dismissed or settled out of court. In 2019, Musk convinced another jury that he did not insult . British cave diver Vern Unsworth when he called Unsworth a “pedo guy” in another 2018 tweet.
Asked Friday about requests from . Twitter stakeholders to avoid tweets, Musk said he had not withdrawn them. Musk now owns Twitter, having completed his buy of. the social media platform last fall.