On Tuesday, the inquiry into whether Elon Musk committed fraud by tweeting in 2018 that he was about to privatize Tesla began.
In a federal courtroom in San Francisco, where Tesla CEO Elon Musk was expected to testify, the process of selecting jurors to evaluate the evidence began.
The case goes back to August 2018, when Musk tweeted that he had enough money to buy Tesla outright, sending the company’s share price spiraling out of control.
Musk was sued by shareholders because of the post that claimed funding was “secured” to buy out the company’s shareholders. This post allegedly cost shareholders billions of dollars.
“The plaintiff alleges that these tweets were materially false and artificially affected the price of Tesla stock and other securities after they were made,” US District Court Judge Edward Chen stated while summarizing the case for potential jurors.
Chen said that Musk’s attorneys will say that they won’t be able to prove that Musk’s tweet was “materially false” or hurt shareholders at the trial.
Last week, Musk asked Chen to move the proceedings to Texas, where Musk moved Tesla’s headquarters. Chen declined.
The multibillionaire’s attorneys argued that he would not receive a fair trial in San Francisco, where he bought Twitter at the end of October and has been widely criticized for his behavior since.
When Musk took control of Twitter, he laid off more than half of its 7,500 employees and drastically altered the site’s content moderation policies.
Musk’s brief tweet in 2018 has already sounded the alarm for the authorities.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States ordered Musk to resign as chairman of Tesla’s board and assessed a fine of $20 million.
However, media reports claim that jurors would be influenced during the fraud trial if the SEC case was discussed.