Tesla’s Elon Musk is smart and a genius, but ‘a little off his rocker’ in ‘funding secured’ trial, potential jurors won’t back down from what Elon Musk describes as shareholder suit.
Some called him smart and brilliant, but others said he was arrogant and self-righteous. Investors are suing Elon Musk over a 2018 tweet that said he had money secured to take Tesla private.
A pool of potential jurors didn’t hold back their opinion of Elon Musk as a shareholder lawsuit against the Tesla boss got underway on Tuesday, characterizing him as everything from genius to his rocker.
Written questionnaires and responses to attorneys’ questions came to the court as part of the screening process for potential jurors at the trial. A San Francisco court is investigating whether Musk defrauded investors by tweeting that he had received money to take Tesla private.
One prospective juror called the Tesla CEO a smart, successful leader, the BBC reported, while another called him a genius. There was also no shortage of criticism, as The Guardian and Bloomberg reported, as others described him as a bit cocky and narcissistic, unpredictable, mercenary and yet another arrogant rich man.
But perhaps the strongest opinion came from a jury candidate who spoke out against Musk’s approach to Twitter, which he took over in October and analysts believe has hurt Tesla’s share price.
“I think he’s a little off his rocker on a personal level,” said the future juror. According to the BBC, a woman said that Elon Musk was not a very likable person. Asked by US District Court Judge Edward Chen whether she could still be fair, she said: A lot of people are not necessarily likeable people.
After questioning nine people were selected for the jury. The preliminary arguments will begin on Wednesday. Tesla investors are suing Musk in a class-action lawsuit that claims the billionaire manipulated the electric-vehicle maker’s share price in 2018 after he tweeted he had $420 million in the company. That’s money to take private per share.
The automaker’s shares soared 11% in price within hours of the tweet, but the deal never materialized. Short-sellers who bet against a rise in the stock’s price are estimated to have lost at least $3 billion in price increases.
The trial will determine whether the tweeted comment affected Tesla’s stock, whether the electric-vehicle maker or its board should be held liable for it, and whether investors are entitled to damages.
Earlier, Elon Musk said that he thought he had safe money from Saudi Arabia’s investment fund. He said he had made a deal to divest the funds to provide the funds needed to delist Tesla from the S&P 500.
Tesla’s legal team attempted to have it moved out of California before the trial. He argued that his Twitter purchase had sparked so much local negativity in his Silicon Valley home that it should be moved to Tesla’s new home state of Texas to ensure fairness.