After a federal judge denied Elon Musk’s request to move the case out of California, he will go on trial Tuesday for alleged stock market manipulation in a tweet.
The case began in August 2018, when Elon Musk tweeted that he had enough money to take Tesla private. This caused the company’s stock price to plummet.
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Shareholders quickly sued Musk for allegedly costing them billions of dollars when he said on Twitter that the money was “insured” to buy them out of the company.
A court spokesman said Judge Edward Chen on Friday denied a request to transfer the case to Texas, where Musk moved Tesla’s headquarters and where jury selection will begin Tuesday.
Defense attorneys said the billionaire would not get a fair trial in San Francisco, where he bought Twitter in late October and has been criticized for his decisions since he took control of the social media company.
Musk fired more than half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, most of whom worked in San Francisco. He also made big changes to the way the site moderates content.
In a filing, the CEO’s lawyers said: “Over the past several months, the local media has filled this district with biased and negative stories about Mr. Musk. This has led to…highly prejudicial biases in the jury pool.”
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“Unlike the way they usually cover these kinds of stories, local media have personally blamed Mr. Musk for the cuts and even said he broke the law,” the lawyers said.
Bloomberg says that at the hearing, Judge Chen said he was confident that fair juries could be chosen.
Authorities have already paid attention to Musk’s brief tweet from 2018.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which is in charge of the US stock market, told Musk he had to resign as Tesla’s chairman of the board and pay a $20 million fine.
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