Tesla investors’ efforts to muzzle Elon Musk could undermine Twitter’s bid: lawyer

An attempt to muzzle Elon Musk over his ongoing legal battle with Tesla shareholders over his infamous 2018 ‘funding secured’ tweet could inappropriately limit his ability to discuss his pending bid to buy Twitter , argued the billionaire’s legal team in a new court filing on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen agreed with Musk and on Wednesday afternoon dismissed the temporary restraining order, court documents show.

The judge said the trial in his case would not begin until January 2023 and that limiting what Musk can tell the media now will not impact future jurors.

Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, earlier in the day criticized plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order in a class action lawsuit in which shareholders are seeking billions of dollars in damages.

In the filing, Spiro argued that the request for an order barring Tesla’s CEO from making public statements related to the case should be denied – describing it as an attempt to “trample on Elon Musk’s First Amendment rights.” preventing him from publicly discussing this matter or its underlying facts.

“Plaintiff’s vague and unconstitutional restraint proposal would apparently preclude Mr. Musk’s ability to communicate with Tesla shareholders, communicate about his current proposal to buy Twitter, and fully pursue his legal rights in the action. separate from the SEC,” Spiro, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, wrote in the filing.

Shareholders say they lost money after Musk tweeted that he secured financing to take Tesla private at $420 per share. Musk denied lying in the tweet, which sparked the class action lawsuit as well as an ongoing legal battle with the SEC.

Tesla shareholders claimed Elon Musk’s tweet cost them money.

Musk’s team filing pushes back against the defense’s claim that the brash tech entrepreneur was trying to sway potential jurors through comments he made during a recent interview at a TED talk in Vancouver – when Musk reiterated that “funding was indeed secured” and referred to the SEC as “bastards”.

The document also claims that a gag order would have consequences that “extend well beyond this litigation” – including a potential impact on Musk’s $43 billion bid to acquire Twitter, his legal battle with the SEC and its efforts to communicate with Tesla shareholders about the company. Business.

“The plaintiff’s request for a gag order is not designed to limit certain forms of narrow speech to ensure a fair trial; rather, it is designed to silence Mr. Musk’s statements outside of the context of this litigation,” the filing states.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla
Musk, who owns Space X and Tesla, is the richest man in the world.

Adam Apton of the law firm Levi & Korsinsky, the shareholders’ lead attorney, did not immediately return a request for comment.

The plaintiffs’ legal team asked a federal judge to muzzle Musk shortly after he appeared at the TED talk. During the event, Musk also said he was basically forced to come to an agreement with the SEC over his 2018 tweet because the banks said they would stop funding Tesla unless he did. do it.

“Musk’s comments risk confusing potential jurors with the false narrative that he did not knowingly make false statements with his August 7, 2018 tweets,” the shareholders’ attorneys said. “His current statements on this matter, an unsubtle attempt to absolve himself in the court of public opinion, will only have a detrimental influence on a jury.”

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla
A judge has ruled that Elon Musk knowingly made false statements when he tweeted in 2018 that he wanted to take Tesla private, according to a report.
Visual China Group via Getty Ima

In other court documents, attorneys for Tesla shareholders said the judge in the case agreed with their claim that Musk knowingly made false statements about obtaining funding – citing an earlier order that was not initially part of the court’s public record.

In a separate proceeding, Musk is asking a court to lift a consent decree included in his revised 2019 settlement with the SEC, which includes a provision requiring Tesla’s attorneys to read and approve all of his tweets before they can. be published.

Meanwhile, Twitter’s board has taken a defensive step in response to Musk’s bid to buy the social media platform – adopting a ‘poison pill’ that is triggered if he acquires more 15% of the company.

As The Post reported, Musk is scrambling to find partners to co-fund his Twitter deal — and is willing to put up to $15 billion of his own money to seal the deal.

With post wires

Jon J. Epps