Elon Musk wants Tesla fraud trial moved from San Francisco to Texas to avoid potential juror bias


Elon Musk’s lawyers want to move his upcoming fraud trial with Tesla investors from San Francisco to Austin, Texas to avoid potential bias from jurors. 

Lawyers for the Chief Twit say because he recently laid off 50 percent of Twitter workers in the Northern California city, there is a sense of ‘local negativity’ amongst residents in the area. 

The billionaire’s lawyers want the trial moved to Texas – where Tesla is currently headquartered – after moving from Palo Alto in late 2021. 

The trial stems from tweets Musk sent in August 2018 claiming he had ‘funding secured’ regarding Tesla going private and that the messages were ‘indisputably false’ and cost them billions. 

Elon Musk’s lawyers want to move his upcoming fraud trial with Tesla investors from San Francisco to Austin, Texas to avoid potential bias from jurors

Lawyers for the Chief Twit say because he recently laid off 50 percent of Twitter workers in the Northern California city, there is a sense of 'local negativity' amongst residents in the area

Lawyers for the Chief Twit say because he recently laid off 50 percent of Twitter workers in the Northern California city, there is a sense of ‘local negativity’ amongst residents in the area

The CEO maintains he did not mislead investors and that he had funds from Saudi Arabia that supported his statements. 

Musk, 51, is the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, purchased Twitter in October 2022 for $44 billion and installed himself as CEO immediately. 

In court filings, Musk’s lawyers say the man is a consistent target of Bay Area news sources and that this means he will be unable to obtain a fair trial in California. 

‘Mr. Musk is far likelier to receive a fair trial in the Western District of Texas,’ the billionaire’s lawyer, Alex Spiro of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner, wrote. 

‘Mr. Musk has not been the subject of overwhelming, pervasive, and inflammatory press coverage by the local media in the Western District of Texas, like he has in this district. Texas news outlets publish far fewer stories about Mr. Musk.’  

The filing come less than two weeks before the legal proceedings are slated to begin in Northern California on January 17. 

Musk, 51, purchased Twitter in October 2022 for $44 billion and installed himself as CEO immediately

Musk, 51, purchased Twitter in October 2022 for $44 billion and installed himself as CEO immediately 

Twitter is headquartered in San Francisco, California

Twitter is headquartered in San Francisco, California 

Tesla is headquartered in Austin, Texas

Tesla is headquartered in Austin, Texas 

The trial stems from tweets Musk sent in August 2018 regarding taking the company private

The trial stems from tweets Musk sent in August 2018 regarding taking the company private

Musk tweeted that he was taking his electric-vehicle company private at $420 per share and could do so with 'funding secured'

Musk tweeted that he was taking his electric-vehicle company private at $420 per share and could do so with ‘funding secured’ 

In August 2018, Musk tweeted that he was taking his electric-vehicle company private at $420 per share and could do so with ‘funding secured.’ 

In the weeks following, Tesla’s stock trading halted and then shares were considered volatile due to his tweets. 

Northern California Senior District Judge Edward M. Chen ruled in 2022 that Musk’s statements in 2018 were false and that the CEO tweeted them knowingly. 

Jurors in the upcoming trial will help decide if the tweets impacted Tesla’s share prices and if the company should be held liable to pay damages. 

In the weeks following, Tesla's stock trading halted and then shares were considered volatile due to his tweets

In the weeks following, Tesla’s stock trading halted and then shares were considered volatile due to his tweets

Northern California Senior District Judge Edward M. Chen ruled in 2022 that Musk’s statements in 2018 were false and that the CEO tweeted them knowingly

Northern California Senior District Judge Edward M. Chen ruled in 2022 that Musk’s statements in 2018 were false and that the CEO tweeted them knowingly

There are more than 1,700 miles between San Francisco, where the trail is currently set, and Austin, where Musk's lawyers want it to be moved

There are more than 1,700 miles between San Francisco, where the trail is currently set, and Austin, where Musk’s lawyers want it to be moved 

Musk’s lawyers have argued his statements did not violate the law at all. 

He says it was a private handshake deal that prompted him to tweet out the message regarding the potential to privatize the company. 

Text messages revealed in a different trial involving the CEO in 2022 implied the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund had not fully agreed to the deal. 

Court filings from this month show Musk’s attorneys have subpoenaed four people to testify in this trial including Naif Al Mogren, Saad Al Jarboa, Turqi Alnowaise and Yasir Al-Rumayyan. 

Mogren, Al Jarboa, Alnowaise, and Al-Rumayyan all work with the Saudi Arabia PIF.  

This is Tesla's headquarters in Travis County, Texas

This is Tesla’s headquarters in Travis County, Texas

The company moved from Palo Alto to Austin in late 2021

The company moved from Palo Alto to Austin in late 2021

Despite Musk’s lawyers saying the trial should be moved as Tesla now operates in Texas, the company still has nearly 50,000 employees in the Golden State. 

Musk’s legal counsel claim the jury pool ‘is likely to hold a personal and material bias against Mr. Musk as a result of recent layoffs at one of his companies as individual prospective jurors — or their friends and relatives — may have been personally impacted.’ 

‘The existing baseline bias has been compounded, expanded, and reinforced by the negative and inflammatory local publicity surrounding the events,’ lawyers claim. 

The lawyers state, however, the trail is not being brought just because of the negative news coverage he has received. 

Musk's lawyers say the jury members are 'likely to hold a personal and material bias against Mr. Musk as a result of recent layoffs at one of his companies as individual prospective jurors'

Musk’s lawyers say the jury members are ‘likely to hold a personal and material bias against Mr. Musk as a result of recent layoffs at one of his companies as individual prospective jurors’ 

Musk, since taking over as CEO, has cut thousands of employees from the company

Musk, since taking over as CEO, has cut thousands of employees from the company

‘Mr. Musk has been a public figure for more than a decade and recognizes that being the subject of negative and even unfair media attention comes with the territory,’ the filing states. 

‘The local media and political establishment have attempted to depict Mr. Musk as personally responsible for causing material economic harm to the significant number of potential jurors impacted by the layoffs and to the City of San Francisco as a whole.’

Musk, since taking over as CEO, has cut thousands of employees from the company. 

In addition to cutting the jobs, Musk has faced heavy backlash in the Bay Area for slamming San Francisco Mayor London Breed over the homeless and drug problem. 

Musk may have also violated public building codes when he turned some rooms at Twitter’s Market Street headquarters into bedrooms. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk