The verdict is in: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been cleared of claims that he defrauded investors with a tweet. After a federal jury in San Francisco rejected the demands for billions of dollars in damages, Musk took to Twitter to express his appreciation for the jury’s unanimous finding of innocence.
This case has made headlines around the world, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, it’s not every day that a public figure’s tweets become the basis for a legal battle. In this case, the tweet in question was one from August 7, 2018, in which Musk wrote “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”
The jury’s decision is a significant one, but it’s not likely to become a precedent that changes how other executives exercise free speech online. Adam Pritchard, a professor at University of Michigan Law School, noted that “Nobody does this — only Elon does this.”
But while this case may be unique, it’s not unheard of for public companies to go private. Erik Gordon, Professor of Business at the University of Michigan, pointed out that there are some benefits to going private, such as not having to file reports with the SEC and having fewer shareholders.
Ultimately, the jury’s decision in this case shows that, when it comes to the wisdom of the people, justice can prevail. It also serves as a reminder that, when it comes to exercising free speech, even the most powerful of people can be held accountable.