The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, may become even more confident in his Twitter usage following a court ruling that declared him not guilty for tweeting about having “funding secured” to make the electric car company private. The San Francisco jury took only two hours to reach a unanimous verdict that the second-richest person in the world was not responsible for the alleged fraudulent tweet in August 2018.
According to Minor Myers, a professor of corporate law at the University of Connecticut, the verdict will likely result in Musk intensifying his communication tactics. Myers stated, “This will only encourage him to act as he sees fit.” Although Musk eventually abandoned his plan to take Tesla private, he told the jury during the three-week trial that he had sincerely believed what he wrote in his tweets.
Karen Woody, an associate professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, expressed shock at the verdict as she considered the case against Musk to be “rock-solid”.
“He pushed the limits and emerged victorious,” she stated. “I anticipate that Elon will express whatever he desires,” the woman continued.
Musk expressed gratitude towards the jury through Twitter, which he purchased for $44 billion in October. He wrote, “Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has triumphed.”
The Tesla shareholders who sued Musk aimed to recover billions of dollars in compensation.
Musk’s unorthodox tweeting style has endeared him to many and strengthened the Tesla image.
He fiercely defended himself against allegations of dishonesty, with his lawyer, Alex Spiro, telling the jury that the tweet “funding secured” was only inaccurate in a technical sense. Spiro argued, “Who cares about poor word choice?” during the final arguments.
The tweets resulted in a $40 million resolution of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil charges for both Musk and Tesla under a consent agreement, which Musk has unsuccessfully tried to lift.
Adam Pritchard, a law professor at the University of Michigan, noted, “He doesn’t want to comply with SEC rules as the SEC perceives them, and the SEC doesn’t want to be seen as retreating. I expect them to continue facing challenges.”
However, many analysts believe that Musk, who has tweeted more than 22,000 times and has a Twitter following of approximately 128 million, has no reason to change his approach now.
Kim Forrest, Chief Investment Officer at Bokeh Capital Partners, stated, “Many people would have curtailed tweeting when faced with a lawsuit of this nature, but that was not the case in the Twitter deal, was it?”