A San Francisco jury has cleared Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, of any financial liability in a lawsuit stemming from his 2018 tweet that he had the funding to take the company private. The jury found that there was no basis for damages as they could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Musk acted with actual malice or intent to harm investors.
The case began after an August 7th tweet by Musk stating “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured. This caused an immediate spike in the stock price and caught regulators’ attention due to concerns over potential market manipulation and violations of securities law. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subsequently charged him with fraud but settled without admitting guilt when he agreed to step down as chairman for three years and pay a $20 million fine.
The lawsuit against him came from shareholders who believed they were misled into buying stocks at artificially inflated prices which then dropped significantly once it became clear there was no deal on offer nor any real intention by Mr Musks’ side to pursue one either way – something which is now backed up by this ruling from the court.
In their defense, lawyers representing Mr. Musk argued that his statement about having “funding secured” should be taken literally rather than figuratively; meaning it wasn’t intended as false information or misrepresentation but simply part of a process still being worked on behind closed doors – something which evidently convinced jurors enough so they found him innocent..
This verdict serves as yet another example proving just how much influence Elon musk holds.