Elon Musk’s lawyers argue he can’t get a fair trial in California

Elon Musk’s lawyers argue he can’t get a fair trial in California

Elon Musk’s lawyers argue he can’t get a fair trial in California

  • Elon Musk is facing a class action lawsuit over tweets alleging he secured funding to take Tesla private.
  • His attorneys say the trial should be held in Texas rather than California to ensure fairness.
  • Since Musk’s Twitter takeover, would-be judges have been biased towards the billionaire, they argued.

Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover has made him so unpopular in the state of California that he’s unlikely to get a fair trial, his attorneys argued in a recent court filing.

The Tesla CEO is facing a class-action lawsuit over his 2018 tweets suggesting he planned to privatize the electric-vehicle company for $420 a share and had “secured funding” to do so.

Just a month after the first tweet of 2018, Musk paid a $20 million fine and settled fraud allegations with the SEC for “false and misleading statements.” Though Musk neither admitted nor denied the allegations, he resigned as Tesla chairman and was replaced by Robyn Denholm.

Edward M. Chen, the senior district judge of Northern California who will oversee the class action lawsuit, ruled last year that Musk knowingly made false statements that could potentially have impacted Tesla’s stock price. The upcoming trial will determine whether the contributions actually impacted Tesla’s stock price, whether the company or its directors should be held liable, and whether shareholders are entitled to damages, according to NBC News.

After closing his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter last year, the billionaire remains around $13 billion in debt – much of which is secured by his remaining stake in Tesla in the leveraged buyout, The Street reported deeply intertwined, which governs the financial future of the two companies.

Since acquiring Twitter on Oct. 27, Tesla’s share price has fallen from $225.09 to $113.06 per share, its lowest since August 2020.

Musk’s dealings since acquiring the social media company, including mass layoffs and a culture that describes current employees as “toxic,” could also make it harder for the billionaire to be judged by a jury of California peers, according to his attorneys. and was to be relocated to Texas.

Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, argued in a motion filed on Friday that “a significant portion of the jury in this county, as an individual, is likely to harbor a personal and material bias against Mr. Musk as a result of recent firings at one of his companies. Future jurors — or their friends and relatives – may have been personally affected. The existing underlying bias was exacerbated, amplified and reinforced by the negative and inflammatory local publicity surrounding the events.”

In December 2021, Tesla moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas. Twitter remains based in San Francisco, California.

Citing regular protests and pickets outside Musk’s San Francisco offices — some of which Spiro says are “supported and encouraged by local political figures” — Musk’s attorneys noted in the filing that the “negativity toward Mr. Musk was not isolated to.” the press” and “will deprive him of an impartial jury and his constitutional right to a fair trial”.

Should the court not grant the request to change the venue, Spiro requested a continuation of the hearing to postpone the trial, arguing the judge should allow time for “the passions stirred up by “recent events and the biased reporting in sparked by the local media “dissolve”. before the jury hears the case.

According to the filing, the motion is scheduled to be heard by Judge Chen on January 13, just four days before the trial begins.

Musk, his legal team, and Tesla representatives did not immediately respond to insiders’ requests for comment.

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