Elon Musk defends himself in court against ‘outrageous’ accusations over 2018 tweets

The head of Tesla and Twitter has assured since late October that he never tried to deceive investors and that he was accused of fraud. “scandalous”.

He caused a stir on August 7, 2018, by saying he wanted to take the auto group public at a price of $420 per share, with assurances that the financing would be done later. “safe”.

“I wasn’t saying it was done, I was just saying I’m thinking about it, I’m thinking about it. And I think the funding is secured.”Elon Musk said at the bar in the San Francisco court where the trial was held.

Last week, the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, Nicholas Porritt, accused the chief executive of “lying” and being responsible for investors’ losses.

Shares rallied in the wake of the highly unusual tweets (and Nasdaq temporarily halted Tesla’s share price) and fell in the days that followed. News articles eventually revealed that the boss really didn’t have the funds.

Tesla remained listed on the stock exchange.

With his questions, Nicholas Porritt tried to show that Elon Musk had not been properly consulted, and had neither the necessary elements nor the authority to make such a sensational statement, especially on Twitter and especially when the markets were open.

“Mr. Tweet”

The lawyer highlighted the bitter exchange that took place on August 12, 2018, between the billionaire and the director of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan. “definitely” and “without hesitation” Funding the operation according to Elon Musk.

“The finances weren’t really secure, were they?”asked Mrs. Porritt.

Yasir Al-Rumeyyan did “backpedal”, answered Tesla’s boss.

He assured that in any case he has the opportunity to sell the shares of the other flagship SpaceX. “The Most Valuable Unlisted Company in the United States”.

“It would break my heart (to sell them), but I would do it if I had to,” he said, referring to how he had to part with his Tesla shares to buy Twitter last year.

Dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and tie, he appeared flustered, didn’t remember many of the emails and details, and often answered questions to repeat the messages he wanted to convey to the jury.

So much so that the investor’s lawyer lost his patience. “We spent the whole day together in Austin, remember Mr. Tweet?!”commissioned Nicholas Porritt before correcting for “Mr Musk”.

“Karma”

The prosecution also returned to Elon Musk’s proposed price of $420 per share. In the US, the numbers 4 and 20 together are associated with cannabis consumption. When the billionaire proposed to buy Twitter last spring, he chose a price of $54.20 per share.

“Did you round up to 420 as a prank on your girlfriend?”asked Nicholas Porritt.

“This was no joke, it represented a 20% premium over the share price”Elon Musk responded, but admitted that there is “a certain karma around the 420.”

“I’m not sure if it’s good or bad karma at this point,” he joked again.

His lawyer, Alex Spiro, later helped paint a portrait of an immigrant who came from nothing to the United States “where great things are possible” after an “unfortunate” childhood in South Africa, according to the billionaire.

“I’ve been called crazy many times”– said Elon Musk after listing the companies he founded.

But “At this point, I believe I’ve raised more money than anyone else in history.”– he boasts, linking his success with his success “honesty” towards investors.

The trial is expected to last three weeks. In a previous ruling in the case, a judge ruled that a popular tweet from 2018 was reviewable. “lying and cheating”.

The US stock market police SEC, in turn, forced Elon Musk to resign as chairman of the board of directors, pay a fine and have his tweets directly related to Tesla’s operations pre-approved by a lawyer.

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