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Jury rules Elon Musk not liable for damages caused by 2018 Twitter post

A San Francisco jury has ruled that Elon Musk is not liable for damages stemming from a 2018 Twitter post which claimed Tesla could be going private.

A San Francisco jury has ruled that Elon Musk is not liable for damages stemming from a 2018 Twitter post which claimed Tesla could be going private.

In addition to this claim, Musk’s tweet said that the funding to buy Tesla from investors at $420 a share was “secured.” The market’s surprised reaction ultimately resulted in a (short-lived) $14 billion drop to the company’s stock value. However, the money simply did not exist, and the buyout never arrived. In a separate lawsuit which ended last year, the court ruled that the CEO had “recklessly made the statements with knowledge as to their falsity” and called his comments “false and misleading.” The entrepreneur also reached a settlement with the SEC over the post, although Musk has since claimed he did so to end the agency’s harassment.

The recently concluded lawsuit alleged that Musk owed investors roughly $12 billion for the losses caused by the market’s reaction. The defendant’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, admitted that the 2018 Twitter post had been poorly worded but dismissed the accusations saying, “Who cares about bad word choice?” Spiro continued to defend Musk in his closing statements, arguing, “Just because it’s a bad tweet doesn’t make it fraud.”

The jury spent only two hours in deliberations before returning with their unanimous verdict announcing that Musk’s Tweet did not make him liable for damages. The CEO, who was not in the courtroom at the time, quickly tweeted, “Thanks goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed.” The entrpreneur’s use of the social media platform is likely to remain a source of contention between the EV automaker, government agencies and shareholders. Earlier this year, another tweet, which promised to discontinue a safety feature activated when Tesla drivers turned on autopilot, earned an inquiry from the NHTSA, who at the time had 41 ongoing investigations into accidents involving the automaker’s self-driving software.

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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