April 19. 2024. 7:51

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Elon Musk and Tesla found not guilty in fraud case by US jury

A US jury on Friday found Tesla and chief executive Elon Musk not liable in a securities fraud case over a tweet that he had lined up funding to take the electric car company private.

Plaintiffs have claimed billions in damages and the decision also had been seen as important for Mr Musk himself, who has aggressively fought any charges that he was guilty and defended his ability to tweet broadly.

The outcome is a bitter loss for the shareholders who sought to recoup trading losses from fluctuations in Tesla shares after Mr Musk posted the messages. The billionaire abandoned the take-private plan about two weeks after his initial tweets.

It’s an especially poignant vindication for Mr Musk after his August 2018 tweets got him and Tesla sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and he reluctantly agreed to accept restrictions on his social media posts.

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The outcome marked another victory for the billionaire’s go-to lawyer, Alex Spiro, in a risky trial that many high-profile executives would have avoided by reaching an out-of-court settlement.

In 2019, Mr Spiro persuaded a federal jury in Los Angeles to return a verdict for Mr Musk in less than an hour in a defamation case brought by a British caver whom Musk called a “pedo guy while they were exchanging insults on Twitter.

“The jury got it right, Mr Spiro said after the verdict, declining further comment. – Agencies