Tesla CEO Elon Musk is due to appear in a California court on Tuesday for manipulating the stock markets through a 2018 tweet. A court spokesman said on Friday that federal judge Edward Chen rejected Musk’s request that the trial be moved from San Francisco to the state of Texas, where the Tesla CEO has since relocated. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

At the beginning of August 2018, Musk caused a stir with a message on Twitter that he was considering withdrawing the electric car company from the stock market and that the financing for it was “secured”. The unconventional announcement caused unrest on the stock markets; Tesla shares rose by almost eleven percent, after which the New York Stock Exchange temporarily suspended trading in the paper.

backed out

A few weeks later, Musk then backed down: Remaining on the stock exchange was the “better way for Tesla,” he announced. A lawsuit has been filed against Musk for “artificially manipulating” the price of Tesla stock in an attempt to hurt any investors who bet the stock price would go down.

Musk’s lawyers had justified the call for the trial to be relocated to Texas because public opinion in San Francisco was directed against him because of his purchase of Twitter and the subsequent wave of layoffs from the online service. Local media have published “biased and negative posts” about Musk in recent months, and local politicians such as San Francisco’s mayor have also taken a stance against the entrepreneur.

Impartial jury possible?

Judge Chen countered these arguments, according to the Bloomberg news agency, Musk also had “many fans” in San Francisco. The compilation of an impartial jury is quite possible. In a previous decision, the federal judge had said that Musk’s tweet could be considered “false and misleading”.

Musk has already had a lot of trouble with the US authorities because of the tweet. The Securities and Exchange Commission forced him to vacate his position as chairman of Tesla’s board of directors in 2018, requiring Musk’s tweets directly related to Tesla to be reviewed by a lawyer before they could be published. In addition, Musk and the electric car company each had to pay a fine of 20 million dollars (18.5 million euros). Last spring, Musk tried unsuccessfully to overturn the SEC decision.

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