Elon Musk, the CEO of the world’s largest maker of electric vehicles, Tesla, will go on trial on Tuesday for allegedly using a tweet to manipulate the stock market, after a federal judge denied his request to have the case moved out of California.
The dispute began in August 2018 when Musk tweeted that he had enough money to take Tesla private, sparking a wild rise in the stock price of the business.
After tweeting that funding was “secured” to buy out the company’s shareholders, Musk was promptly sued by the shareholders for allegedly costing them billions of dollars.
According to a court representative, Judge Edward Chen on Friday rejected to move the case to Texas, where Musk relocated Tesla’s corporate headquarters and jury selection is set to start on Tuesday.
The multibillionaire, who acquired Twitter in late October and has drawn heavy criticism for his actions since assuming control of the social media company, was represented by defense attorneys who claimed that he would not receive a fair trial in San Francisco.
Musk drastically altered the site’s content moderation procedures after assuming control of Twitter, firing more than half of the 7,500 employees, the most of whom were based in San Francisco.
The CEO’s attorneys stated in a document that “the local media has bombarded this area for the last few months with prejudiced and unfavorable reports about Mr. Musk that have developed… very unfair biases in the jury pool.”
The lawyers claimed that the local media had blamed Mr. Musk directly for the reductions and even accused him of breaking the law, which was a departure from how they generally covered similar topics.
Bloomberg reports that during the hearing, Judge Chen expressed confidence in the ability to select fair jurors.
Authorities have already taken notice of Musk’s brief tweet from 2018.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees the US stock market, issued an order requiring him to resign as Tesla’s board chairman and pay a $20 million punishment.