Elon Musk testifies in defense of 2018 tweets about taking Tesla private

Elon Musk battles new Twitter problems every day, but he’s still tied down by old tweets.

The mercurial multibillionaire testified Friday in a trial concerning two tweets he sent about Tesla in 2018.


Musk, now 51, claimed in the posts that he had “funding secured” to take his electric car company private. His tweets prompted rapid changes in Tesla stock between Aug. 7 and Aug. 17 of that year.

Shareholders eventually lost $14 billion when Musk admitted that funding was never secured.


The Securities and Exchange Commission fined Musk $40 million in 2018 over his truthless tweets, and a group of shareholders filed a class-action lawsuit against him.

That lawsuit finally reached a San Francisco courtroom this week, with Musk taking the stand late Friday before a weekend recess. His testimony is scheduled to resume Monday.

“Just because I tweet something does not mean people believe it or will act accordingly,” Musk said, according to Reuters.

In opening statements, Musk’s legal team argued that their client was trying to protect smaller investors with his tweets by giving them behind-the-scenes information. But the outcome was disastrous when the information proved to be bogus.

“This proposal was an extreme outlier,” veteran Harvard business and law professor Guhan Subramanian testified. “It was incoherent. It was illusory.”

Musk has claimed that he entered the SEC settlement under duress. After reaching the deal, in which he stepped down as Tesla chairman but remained CEO and admitted no wrongdoing, Musk taunted the agency in a series of tweets.

With News Wire Services