SAN FRANCISCO -- A jury cleared Elon Musk of claims by Tesla Inc. investors that he defrauded them when he tweeted 4 1/2 years ago that he was considering taking the company private and had “funding secured” to make the deal happen.
The verdict in San Francisco federal court rejects allegations that the electric-car maker’s CEO violated securities laws and should pay billions of dollars in damages. The finding is a major vindication for Musk, whose August 2018 tweets got him and Tesla sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and once again proves that the billionaire is difficult to beat in court.
The outcome, after a three-week trial, is a bitter loss for the shareholders who sought to recoup trading losses from fluctuations in Tesla shares after Musk posted the messages. Musk abandoned the take-private plan about two weeks after his initial tweets.