Elon Musk admits in court that he ignored pleas to stop tweeting

Elon Musk admits in court that he ignored pleas to stop tweeting

Elon Musk will never stop posting, no matter who tells him to stop.

That was one takeaway from his brief testimony during his securities fraud trial, which took place Friday in a San Francisco courthouse. Lawyers for the plaintiffs peppered Musk with questions about his tweets while working on his infamous 2018 “funding secured” tweet at the center of this case. Musk is being sued by a class of Tesla investors who say his clumsy attempts to take Tesla private that year cost them millions of dollars.

However, Musk has yet to be asked about that tweet. He took the stand for just over 30 minutes before the trial was adjourned until the following Monday. But the plaintiff’s lawyers received many questions about his Twitter habits, especially about all the people in his life who have begged him to leave the bird site.

Among the people who asked him to stop tweeting were Antonio Gracias, a former Tesla chairman, investors Ron Baron and Sam Teller, Musk’s former de facto chief of staff, and other close associates.

Musk received a lot of questions about his Twitter habits, especially about all the people in his life who have begged him to quit.

“I guess I kept tweeting, yeah,” Musk responded when asked if he was ignoring his advisers and investors.

(Worth noting: Musk tweeted just seven minutes before taking the stand and waited roughly 45 minutes after resigning before sending his next tweet.)

The plaintiffs are working to portray Musk as a reckless tweeter who ignores sound advice about the significant impact his public statements can have on his company’s stock price and shareholders. Early in his testimony, Musk was asked to describe the relationship between his tweets and Tesla’s retail investors.

“I care a lot about retail investors,” Musk said. “There are our most loyal and firm investors.”

It’s easy to imagine how this statement will come back to haunt him later in the trial, as plaintiffs’ lawyers are likely to remind him of the financial pain his tweets have caused these investors.

“I care a lot about retail investors,” Musk said.

Musk was also asked to talk about one of his favorite topics: short sellers. Tesla is one of the shortest stocks on the market, and Musk has made no secret of his contempt for investors who are betting against his company’s success.

“I think short selling should be illegal,” he said. “It is a means, in my opinion, for the bad people on Wall Street to steal money from small investors. Not good.”

Most of the day’s testimony was devoted to Guhan Subramanian, a professor at Harvard Business School and an expert witness for the plaintiffs, who described how unusual and unprecedented it was for Musk to attempt to tweet his way through the managed purchase of Tesla.

“What is really different here is the communication of material non-public information about a managed purchase through Twitter,” Subramanian testified. “That had never been done before.”

One possible sign of Musk’s burnout: At the end of his testimony, he said there were “two main companies that I run and where I’m essentially the chief technologist and product person”: SpaceX and Tesla.

The management of a third company, Twitter, was not mentioned.

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