A federal judge on Friday rejected Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s bid to move or delay a trial over a misleading tweet about a potential buyout of the electric automaker, setting the stage for the billionaire to be thrust into a legal drama amid the turmoil of his Twitter takeover.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen came during a hearing held in San Francisco federal court to go over the final details of a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday with jury selection.
Attorneys for Musk, 51, asked for the trial to be moved to Texas based on negative coverage surrounding the $44 billion purchase of Twitter. He claimed it would have tainted the jury pool selection in San Francisco.
Chen refused, arguing that the millions of people who inhabit San Francisco couldn’t all be biased against Musk.
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Musk’s upcoming trial revolves around a civil lawsuit brought on behalf of Tesla shareholders who allege they were duped by an Aug. 7, 2018, tweet in which he indicated he had lined up financing for a Tesla buyout — a deal that never materialized and resulted in a $40 million settlement with U.S. securities regulators.
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Chen already determined that Musk’s buyout tweet was false, leaving it to a jury to decide whether he acted recklessly by posting it and whether it caused financial harm to Tesla shareholders. After adjusting for two stock splits made since 2018, Tesla’s shares are now worth nearly six times more than at the time of Musk’s tweets about the bogus buyout.
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Musk has stated that he will step down as CEO of Twitter when a replacement is found.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.