Are you a Tesla investor? If so, you may be interested to hear the outcome of the recent civil trial involving Tesla CEO Elon Musk. After a long and hard-fought battle, a jury found that investors failed to prove that Musk derailed them with a tweet he made in 2018 about taking Tesla private. This verdict vindicated Musk, who had argued that his tweet had not influenced the stock price.
The trial began in San Francisco federal court after investors alleged that Musk’s public statements resulted in billions of dollars in damages. During the trial, jurors heard testimony from high-profile witnesses including Musk himself, Tesla’s former chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja, and Musk’s former chief of staff Sam Teller. Musk’s defense highlighted his meeting in July 2018 with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, an official in Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund, in which he said Al-Rumayyan had committed to helping to finance the deal.
The jury found that the investors failed to prove that Musk’s tweet, which read “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” had influenced Tesla’s stock price. Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, argued that Musk’s adversaries had painted him as a “fire-breathing dragon” and that the billionaire couldn’t be faulted for being a “bad Tweeter.”
The stakes of the case were framed in sweeping, existential terms, with Tesla investors’ attorney Nicholas Porritt of Levi & Korsinsky LLP arguing that it came down to a question of whether regular investors could trust the public markets. Ultimately, the jury found that the rules that apply to everyone else should also apply to Elon Musk.
The verdict was a relief for Musk and Tesla investors alike, who had been waiting for a conclusion for months. It’s a reminder that public figures, no matter how influential, must still abide by the same rules as everyone else.