Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has long been known for his enigmatic behavior and his penchant for tweeting mysterious messages. This tendency was on full display this week in the trial of his lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC had accused Musk of making false and misleading statements on Twitter about potentially taking Tesla private, which caused the stock price to surge.
The trial began with Musk’s legal team arguing that the SEC’s lawsuit was a violation of Musk’s First Amendment rights. Musk himself took the stand, and in a series of bizarre exchanges with the SEC’s lawyers, he defended his tweets. Musk argued that his tweets were “aspirational” and not intended to be taken literally. He also claimed that he was merely speculating about the possibility of taking Tesla private, and that he was not trying to manipulate the stock price.
The SEC lawyers, meanwhile, were intent on proving that Musk’s tweets were deliberately misleading. They pointed out that the tweet in question had come shortly after news broke that a Saudi Arabian investment fund had taken a substantial stake in Tesla. They argued that Musk’s tweet was an attempt to influence the stock price, and to capitalize on the news of the fund’s investment.
In the end, the judge sided with the SEC, ruling that the tweet was indeed false and misleading. Musk was fined and ordered to step down from his role as Chairman of the Board of Tesla. The ruling was a reminder of the power of social media and the potential consequences of tweeting something that could be interpreted as misleading.
The trial also provided a glimpse into Musk’s strange and unpredictable behavior. Despite the serious nature of the proceedings, Musk maintained a lighthearted attitude throughout, even making jokes with the SEC’s lawyers. His enigmatic behavior was once again on full display, and it served as a reminder of the power and potential consequences of the words we choose to share online.