Elon Musk’s trial began on Tuesday in San Francisco with the selection of the jury members, who will have to decide whether the head of Tesla and Twitter wrote a fraudulent tweet in 2018 as investors accuse him, according to the Emirati statement.
The case goes back to August 2018, when Musk tweeted that he wanted to take Tesla off the stock exchange because he had enough funding to do so. This caused the company’s stock price to swing sharply for a few days.
“Prosecutors allege that these tweets were factually false and artificially affected the share price of Tesla and other stocks,” Judge Edward Chen told prospective jurors.
On Friday, the judge refused to transfer the procedures to the US state of Texas, where Elon Musk moved the headquarters of Tesla.
Musk’s lawyers argued the billionaire could not enjoy an impartial trial in San Francisco, where he bought Twitter in late October and has been widely criticized for his decisions, from the platform’s content management policy to mass layoffs.
“In recent months, the local media has flooded this region with biased and negative stories about Musk,” the lawyers said in their request.
They added, “The local press, contrary to its usual way of covering (social plans), blamed Musk personally for job cuts and even accused him of breaking the law.
Local elected officials, including the mayor of San Francisco, have participated in the protests against him.
But Judge Edward Chen ruled Friday that an impartial jury could be set up in the California city.
The trial is scheduled to last three weeks, and Elon Musk is on the witness list.
In an earlier decision related to this case, the judge ruled that the famous 2018 tweet could be considered “false and misleading”.
And the tweets of the head of Tesla have previously caused disagreements between him and the authorities.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint following that tweet, believing that Elon Musk did not provide evidence of having the necessary financing.
The body that oversees the stock exchange then forced him to relinquish the chairmanship of Tesla’s board of directors, pay a $20 million fine, and later demanded that his tweets related to Tesla’s activity be pre-approved by a competent attorney.
In the spring, Elon Musk tried to reverse that decision, to no avail.