Judge: Musk can be subpoenaed through Tesla
A federal judge rules that the U.S. Virgin Islands can serve Musk a subpoena through Tesla, as part of the government’s lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase over its ties to Jeffrey Epstein. The ruling comes after lawyers for the Virgin Islands government said that it had not been able to serve Musk personally with the subpoena, as is the norm. Nor did a Musk lawyer reply to a request to accept the subpoena for his client. The judge authorizes the U.S. Virgin Islands to:
arrange alternative service of its Subpoena to Produce Documents by serving Elon Musk via service upon Tesla Inc.’s registered agent.
Musk’s SEC ‘muzzle’ appeal rejected
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejects Musk’s bid to modify or end his 2018 securities fraud settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that requires a Tesla lawyer to approve some of his tweets in advance. (SEC v Musk, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 22-1291.). Musk argued that the SEC exploited his consent decree to conduct bad-faith, harassing investigations that violated his First Amendment free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution. His decree resolved an SEC lawsuit accusing him of defrauding investors with an Aug. 7, 2018, tweet that he had “funding secured” to take his electric car company private. (A San Francisco jury already found Musk not liable for investor losses over the tweet.)
In the appeal, Musk’s lawyers called the pre-approval mandate a “government-imposed muzzle” that amounted to an illegal prior restraint on his speech, but the court says the SEC had opened just two subsequent inquiries into Musk’s tweets, which “plausibly violated” the decree’s terms. The three-judge panel says that the SEC’s inquiries were “limited” and “appropriate,” and “have not made compliance with the consent decree ‘substantially more onerous'” for Musk, who chose to allow screening of his tweets and therefore has no right to revisit the matter “because he has now changed his mind.” Musk lawyer:
We will seek further review and continue to bring attention to the important issue of the government constraint on speech.
Tesla wins Autopilot crash case
After a three-week trial in the Los Angeles Superior Court, a California jury rules in Tesla’s favor in a lawsuit over a crash involving the company’s partially automated driving software. The jury finds that the company’s Autopilot feature did not fail when plaintiff Justine Hsu’s Model S swerved into a curb while the feature was turned on. The jury also found that the vehicle’s airbag performed safely and Tesla did not intentionally fail to disclose facts. Hsu, who had sought more than $3 million in damages, and was awarded none, broke down in tears outside the courtroom after the jury delivered its verdict. One of her attorneys expressed disappointment with the result. Tesla’s attorney declined to comment.
Musk found not guilty of Tesla tweet fraud
In less than two hours, nine jurors unanimously clear Musk of wrongdoing in a Tesla shareholder class action suit, taken over a tweet in which he said he had “funding secured” to take the electric carmaker private in August 2018. The proposed $72bn (£60bn) buyout never materialised. Sharholders claimed Musk had lied when he tweeted later in the day that “investor support is confirmed”. According to an economist hired by the shareholders, investor losses were calculated as high as $12bn. During the three-week trial, Musk, who took the stand for nearly nine hours, argued he thought he had a verbal commitment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund for the deal.
Musk tweets his thansk to the jurors:
Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed!
I am deeply appreciative of the jury’s unanimous finding of innocence in the Tesla 420 take-private case.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2023