Billionaire Musk likely to ‘double down’ on tweets after court victory
Karen Woody, an associate professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, said she thought the case was “rock-solid” against Musk and she was shocked at the verdict.
“He pushed the boundaries, and won,” she said. “I expect Elon is going to write anything he wants,”
Musk himself thanked the jury on Twitter – which he bought in October for US$44 billion.
“Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed,” he wrote.
The Tesla shareholders who sued Musk had sought billions of dollars in damages.
Musk’s raw tweeting style has made him a hero for many, and burnished the Tesla brand.
He fought hard against accusations that he had not told the truth, with his lawyer, Alex Spiro, telling the jury that the “funding secured” tweet was only technically inaccurate.
“Who cares about bad word choice?” Spiro said during closing arguments.
The tweets led to Musk and Tesla paying US$40 million to resolve US Securities and Exchange Commission civil charges under a consent agreement that Musk has fought unsuccessfully to lift.
“He doesn’t want to play by SEC rules as the SEC understands them, and the SEC doesn’t want to be perceived as backing down,” said Adam Pritchard, a University of Michigan law professor. “I expect them to continue having their difficulties.”
Still, many analysts said Musk, who has tweeted more than 22,000 times and has about 128 million Twitter followers, has no reason to slow down now.
“Many people, when confronted by a lawsuit of this type would have dialed back tweeting,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners. “But that wasn’t the case in the Twitter deal, was it? Musk lives by his own rules, or so it seems,” Forrest said.