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Elon Musk faces US fraud lawsuit over 2018 Tesla tweet – Reuters

Elon Musk, CEO of electric car giant Tesla, will stand trial on Tuesday for alleged stock market manipulation with a tweet after a federal judge denied his request to move the case out of California.

The case dates back to August 2018, when Musk tweeted that he had enough funds to take Tesla private, causing a hurricane in the company’s share price.

Shareholders quickly sued Musk for allegedly costing them billions of dollars over a Twitter post that funding was “secured” to buy out the company’s shareholders.

Judge Edward Chen on Friday refused to move the trial to Texas, the southern state where Musk has moved Tesla’s headquarters and where jury selection is due to begin on Tuesday, according to a court spokesman.

Defense lawyers argued that the multibillionaire would be denied a fair trial in San Francisco, where he bought Twitter in late October and has been widely criticized for his decisions since taking over the social media company.

After taking over Twitter, Musk fired more than half of the 7,500 employees, most of them in San Francisco, and radically changed the site’s content moderation policy.

“Over the past few months, the local media has filled the area with biased and negative stories about Mr. Musk that have contributed to … very damaging juror bias,” attorneys for the CEO said in a statement.

“The local media, contrary to how they usually cover these stories, personally accused Mr. Musk of the reduction and even accused him of violating the law,” the lawyers said.

According to Bloomberg, Judge Chen expressed confidence during the hearing that impartial jurors could be chosen.

A short tweet by Musk in 2018 had already attracted the attention of the authorities.

The U.S. stock market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, ordered Musk to step down as Tesla chairman and pay a $20 million fine.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by the NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated channel.)

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