Elon Musk emerged victorious in the lawsuit brought against him by Tesla investors. It all started on August 7, 2018. That day, the car company's founder posted a tweet that set off alarms with its ivestors.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
Not happy with that, Musk later tweeted what set off the alarm bells for the electric car company's investors: "Investor support is confirmed. Only reason why this is not certain is that it’s contingent on a shareholder vote," he said.
Tesla's possible privatization was the reason for the lawsuit
As a result, the investors decided to sue him. According to the complaint, Musk's tweets led them to make decisions based on his statements. Thus, as reported by The Wall Street Journal Littleton, one of the plaintiffs, stated during the trial that the company founder's comments "represented a threat to my livelihood," even forcing him to put some of his shares up for sale.
Musk rebutted the the claims. After testifying for three days, he assured that he was confident that he had the financing necessary for privatize Tesla and that the intention behind the tweets was to inform them, not deceive them: "I was trying my best to keep shareholders informed and ensure that all shareholders had the same information."
Nevertheless, in the end, Musk emerged victorious. The nine-member jury ruled that the tycoon had not violated federal securities law. They did so after, as reported by WST, deliberating for approximately two hours on Musk's alleged guilt.
Ultimately, they decided to acquit Musk of the charges because, according to jury foreman Robin Cadogan, there was no valid argument that the tweets showed the deal was going to materialize: "The overall message, it just didn’t land. There was nothing there to give me an ‘aha’ moment," he said.
Elon Musk was quick to comment on the ruling. In a tweet, the CEO of Twitter and Space X thanked the nine jurors who unanimously found him not guilty:
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2023