Elon Musk testifies on day two of Tesla tweet trial

Elon Musk testifies on day two of Tesla tweet trial

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk returned to federal court in San Francisco on Monday to testify in a class action lawsuit filed by Tesla investors alleging he misled them with a tweet.

In the tweet that led to a $40 million deal with securities regulators, Musk claimed he prepared the financing to take Tesla private in a deal that never came close.

The trial hinges on whether two tweets Musk posted on August 7, 2018 hurt Tesla shareholders over a 10-day period before Musk admitted the acquisition he was planning would not go through.

Musk, who said Monday he “had trouble sleeping last night and unfortunately I’m not in the best of shape,” testified that it was important for the jury to know that he “felt the funding was secured” because he “Solely own SpaceX shares”. ”

“Like I sold shares in Tesla to buy Twitter. … I didn’t want to sell Tesla stock, but I sold Tesla stock,” he said of the stock sale to offset a lack of funding from other sources for his $44 billion Twitter privatization deal. Musk sold nearly $23 billion worth of shares in his automaker between last April, when he began taking a position on Twitter, and December.

“My SpaceX stock alone would have meant funding was secured,” Musk said of the 2018 tweets.

Before Musk took the stand on Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen said the jury could find those two tweets false, leaving it up to them to determine whether Musk was intentionally misleading investors and causing them losses with his testimony have.

Musk has previously claimed he entered the SEC settlement under duress and claimed he secured financial backing for a Tesla buyout in meetings with officials from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.

In the first tweet of 2018, Musk explained that funding for a $72 billion buyout of Tesla — or $420 per share — was “secured” at a time when the electric-car maker was still grappling with production issues had and was worth far less than it is now. Musk followed up a few hours later with another tweet indicating a deal was imminent.

Nicholas Porritt, an attorney representing Tesla shareholders, asked Musk if he “left at 420 because it was a joke your girlfriend enjoys.” Musk responded that he thinks there’s “some karma” around the number 420 — which is also a slang reference to marijuana — although he added that he doesn’t know “if it’s good karma or bad karma at this point.”

He then said the number was a “coincidence” and represented a 20% premium to Tesla’s stock price at the time.

After it emerged that the money was not in place to take Tesla privately, Musk resigned as Tesla chairman but remained CEO under the Securities and Exchange Commission settlement without admitting wrongdoing.

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