SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Elon Musk took the witness stand on Friday to defend a 2018 tweet claiming he had lined up the financing to take Tesla private in a deal that never came close to happening.
The tweet resulted in a USD40 million settlement with securities regulators. It also led to a class-action lawsuit alleging he misled investors, pulling him into court for about a half hour on Friday to deliver sworn testimony in front of a nine-person jury and a full room of media and other spectators.
The trial was then adjourned for the weekend and Musk was told to return tomorrow to answer more questions.
In his initial appearance on the stand, Musk defended his prolific tweeting as “the most democratic way” to distribute information even while acknowledging constraints of Twitter’s 280-character limit can make it difficult to make everything as clear as possible.
“I think you can be truthful (on Twitter),” Musk asserted on the stand. “But can you be comprehensive? Of course not,”
Musk’s latest headache stems from the inherent brevity on Twitter, a service that he has been running since completing his USD44 billion purchase of it in October.
The trial hinges on the question of whether a pair of tweets that Musk posted on August 7, 2018, damaged Tesla shareholders during 10 days leading up to a Musk admission that the buyout he had envisioned wasn’t going to happen.