Judge rules Musk’s tweets about Tesla privatization were fake, investors say

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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ruled that Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s 2018 tweets about getting funding to take the company private were false, according to filings by Tesla investors suing the billionaire for tweets. The filing says the court ruled on April 1 that Musk’s 2018 tweets were “false and misleading.” The court “felt that he made those statements recklessly knowing they were untrue,” he said.

Investors in the electric car maker asked in the filing, filed Friday, for U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen to block the famed entrepreneur from his “public campaign to present a contradictory and false narrative regarding” his 2018 tweets.

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Musk claimed on Thursday that the funding was in fact secured to take Tesla private in 2018. He settled with U.S. securities regulators what the agency found to be misrepresentations, paying fines and agreeing that a lawyer approves some of his tweets before posting them.

This April 1 decision was not entered in the court roll.

The questions will be the focus of a jury trial in May in which investors seek damages for the tweets.

Musk “used his fame and notoriety to sway public opinion in his favor, battling in the press after being defeated in the courtroom,” the filing said.

Musk’s latest comments risk confusing potential jurors and prejudging a jury decision on the amount of damages owed by Musk, he said.

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Musk is trying to overturn his settlement with the SEC, accusing the agency of harassing him with investigations.

Alex Spiro, an attorney for Musk and Tesla, again asserted on Saturday that it was true that Musk was considering taking Tesla private in 2018 and had funding for the move. “All that’s left half a decade later are random plaintiffs’ lawyers trying to make money and others trying to keep this truth from coming to light, all at the expense of human freedom. expression,” he said.

The case is In re Tesla Inc Securities Litigation, US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-04865. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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