On the witness stand, Glen Littleton, one of the investors and a plaintiff in the case, said Wednesday that Mr. Musk’s initial statement on Twitter that he was taking the company private seemed definitive. As a result, Mr Littleton said he started trading options.
“It pretty much destroyed me,” said Mr. Littleton, 71, referring to Tesla going private. “I wanted to make a living. It was a threat to my livelihood.”
Timothy Fries, another investor and plaintiff in the case, testified on Friday that Mr. Musk’s initial Twitter statement looked like a good opportunity to invest in Tesla. The next day he bought shares in the company.
“I wasn’t ready to buy the stock until I saw the tweet,” Mr. Fries said. He believed the deal was still in the negotiation stage, but that Mr Musk’s post meant “there was a committed party and these funds were vetted”.
The trial began less than three months after Mr. Musk acquired Twitter and laid off most of the company’s employees. He also alienated many people by changing the social media platform’s content rules and restoring some users whose accounts had been suspended in the past, including former President Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Musk’s team tried to move the case to Austin, Texas, where Tesla is based, arguing that it could not get a fair trial in San Francisco because of local coverage of its Twitter takeover. Judge Chen denied this request.
During Tuesday’s jury selection, some prospective jurors described Mr. Musk as “not necessarily likable,” “another arrogant rich guy” and someone who occasionally made “uninformed” social media posts. None of these jurors were selected.
Instead, the case will be decided by a jury of two women and seven men — one of whom said his thoughts about Mr. Musk and Tesla were “nothing” on his juror questionnaire, and one of whom called Mr. Musk “fast.” growing entrepreneur.” The trial is expected to last approximately three weeks.
Peter Eavis contributed reporting.