Feb 3, 2023
Musk Juror Calls Investor Case Against Tesla CEO ‘Disorganized’
(Bloomberg) -- The foreman of the jury that cleared Elon Musk of wrongdoing over his 2018 tweets about taking Tesla Inc. private said the case against the chief executive officer was “disorganized.”
“The defense had a better case,” said Robin Cadogan, 47. The nine-member panel took just two hours of deliberations to reject claims that Musk’s August 2018 Twitter posts misled shareholders and caused them to suffer big losses over a 10-day period of Tesla stock price swings before the take-private plan was abandoned.
Speaking to lawyers representing the shareholders after Friday’s verdict in San Francisco federal court, Cadogan said, “I wasn’t really sure what you were driving at.” He expressed concern that the lawsuit seemed to be “relying on just the tweets.”
Read More: ‘Teflon’ Elon Wins Again as Jury Rejects Fraud Claim Over Tweets
The juror also said he’s familiar with option trading and thought the testimony and trading record of Glen Littleton, the named plaintiff in the class-action suit, showed “he doesn’t seem like an effective trader.” He was also critical of the market analysis methodology the plaintiffs relied on to prove investors were harmed.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers presented the model “as something that was infallible,” Cadogan said. But “nothing’s infallible,” he added.
Musk’s central defense during the three-week trial is that he knew he could raise as much as $60 billion to take Tesla private based on a handshake deal with the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund — even though the electric-car maker’s CEO had nothing in writing.
THe jury foreman pointed to former Tesla chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja and former board member Antonio Gracias as effective witnesses. “Both in terms of how they presented” and that “they also brought into evidence things that I actually knew” about, Cadogan said. They offered strong testimony on “how business is done in the Middle East,” he said.
Musk’s lawyers did a better job of showing “he was presenting what he believed to be true,” and was acting as a genuine bidder for the going-private transaction, Cadogan said.
“Elon’s a guy who could sneeze and the stock market would react.”
--With assistance from Malathi Nayak.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.