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Jury Clears Elon Musk Of Tesla Fraud Claims

Holland McKinnie
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A San Francisco jury cleared Elon Musk on Friday of allegations he defrauded investors. The verdict came following a three-week trial in a lawsuit that accused him of misleading investors through tweets he posted regarding whether he had secured financial support to take electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla private. 

The jury reached its verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.

The tweets, made in August 2018, caused the company’s stock to soar, but the deal ultimately fell through. That led to the filing of the class action lawsuit against the tech billionaire. The case claimed Musk’s tweets were misleading and cost the class of plaintiff investors billions of dollars. 


Musk took the witness stand and testified in his defense. Musk told the jury during his testimony: “I had no ill motive. My intent was to do the right thing for all shareholders.”

During his eight hours of testimony, Musk said he truly believed he had the funding lined up to take Tesla private through commitments from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. He said his tweet was a well-intentioned effort to let all investors know of his plans.

His attorney, Alex Spiro, argued that Musk was trying to include “retail” small shareholders and not seize more power for himself, despite admitting that the tweets were technically inaccurate. He told jurors, “Just because it’s a bad tweet doesn’t make it a fraud.”

In his closing argument, Spiro told the jurors that Musk’s reputation as a tech entrepreneur and innovator shows he is “the kind of person who believes the impossible is possible.”

The attorney for the investors who brought the lawsuit asked jurors in his closing argument to issue a verdict against Musk due to his “loose relationship with the truth.”


The verdict implies the jury found Musk’s testimony credible regarding his impression that he had secured financing from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund without a written commitment. It also shows jurors had doubts about whether Musk’s tweeting was the sole reason for Tesla’s stock price swings during the ten days in August 2018 covered in the case.

After the verdict, Musk tweeted his gratitude: “Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed!” 

The verdict represents a significant vindication for Musk, who had faced the possibility of a civil judgment for billions of dollars in damages in the case.

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