A group of Tesla shareholders that sued CEO Elon Musk over a series of 2018 tweets about taking the company private is asking a federal judge to order Musk to refrain from commenting on the case.
Attorneys for the Austin, Texas-based company’s shareholders also claimed in court filings that the judge in the case ruled that Musk’s tweets about having “secured funding” to take Tesla private were false. , and that his comments also violate a 2018 court settlement with federal securities regulators in which Musk and Tesla each agreed to pay $20 million in fines.
During an interview Thursday at the TED 2022 conference, Musk said he had the funding to take Tesla private in 2018. He hurled insults at the Securities and Exchange Commission and said he only reached a deal because the bankers told him to if it did not, they would stop contributing capital and Tesla would go bankrupt.
The interview and court action come just days after Musk, the world’s richest person, made a controversial bid to acquire Twitter and turn it private with an offer of $43 billion, equivalent to $54.20. per action. On Friday, Twitter’s board of directors adopted a strategy that would make it extremely costly for Musk to buy the shares.
In documents filed Friday, attorneys for Tesla shareholders alleged that Musk is trying to influence potential jurors in the lawsuit. They claim that Musk’s 2018 tweets about possibly taking Tesla private at $420 a share were written in such a way as to manipulate the share price, costing shareholders money.
Now, lawyers say Musk is campaigning to influence potential jurors as the trial nears.
“Musk’s words risk misleading potential jurors with the false narrative that he did not deliberately misrepresent himself with his August 7, 2018 tweets,” the attorneys wrote. “Your current statements of his on that subject, an unsubtle attempt to absolve himself in the court of public opinion, will only have a prejudicial influence on a jury.”
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Tesla shareholders ask judge to silence Musk