Jurors say Musk is "off his rocker" and "narcissistic" - Dispatch Weekly

January 18, 2023 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Elon Musk is facing a civil lawsuit, and potential jurors have voiced conflicting opinions about the Tesla CEO, with some describing him as clever and others as “off his rocker.

Musk claims he cannot receive a fair trial in San Francisco because Tesla shareholders are suing him on the grounds that he artificially inflated the value of the company’s stock.

The case revolves around his tweet from 2018 saying he would take Tesla private.

Because of the position, US regulators ousted Mr. Musk as chairman of Tesla.

He claimed via a Tweet on 7 August 2018 that he had “funding secured” to take the automaker private in a $72 billion (£58.7 billion) buyout.

Following the share price’s sharp decline, shareholders claimed that the Tweet had cost them billions of dollars in losses.

The Tesla CEO, however, said that he did not conduct securities fraud since he thought he had obtained funds from Saudi Arabia’s Investment Fund.

One prospective juror said, “I think he’s a little off his rocker,” to a question about their ability to maintain objectivity.

Another potential juror remarked, “I genuinely feel you can’t judge a person until you’ve walked in their shoes,” before adding that Mr. Musk appeared “narcissistic.”

Another person claimed that he had a “mercenary” personality because “he’s willing to take risks.”

Someone else called him a “fast-rising business man”, while yet another said he was a “smart, successful pioneer”.

In the end, a jury of nine was selected, and the trial is scheduled to start on Wednesday.

Mr. Musk had argued that a fair jury could not be selected in San Francisco and that the trial should be transferred to Texas.

He said that numerous employees in the Californian city were impacted by mass firings at Twitter, a business he acquired at the end of 2022.

According to Mr. Musk’s legal team, a sizable majority of prospective jurors expressed a negative opinion of the billionaire.

However, the judge announced on Friday that the trial would proceed in California.

Musk might be required to pay billions of dollars in damages if a San Francisco jury rules in the shareholders’ favour.

For the Tweet, he previously paid the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) $20 million, and Tesla was required to pay a further $20 million.

His post, which demonstrated the incredible power of Twitter’s 140-character limit, has become legendary in Silicon Valley.

Legal experts predicted that Mr. Musk would have a challenging time winning the case and predicted that the SEC fine he paid would be used against him. Jury trials in fraud cases are notoriously difficult to predict, though.

Mr. Musk might testify in court under oath. CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison and media tycoon James Murdoch are on the list of witnesses.

The trial is anticipated to last around three weeks.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.