Elon Musk’s 2018 ‘Funding Secured’ Tweets Ruled False by Federal Judge, Claim Tesla Investors

A group of Tesla shareholders, suing company CEO Elon Musk over his 2018 tweets about having “funding secured” to take Tesla private, said in recent court filings that a federal judge has ruled that the tweets were false — reports Yahoo Finance.

According to one of the filings, a U.S. court ruled on April 1 that Musk’s 2018 tweets were “false and misleading.” The court “held that he recklessly made the statements with knowledge as to their falsity,” read the filing, submitted on Friday.

The investors behind the filings are seeking damages over the tweets, with the case slated to be placed before a jury at trial next month.

The recent filing urges U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen to block Musk from his “public campaign to present a contradictory and false narrative regarding” his 2018 tweets.

That April 1 decision cited by the Friday court filing was not listed on the court docket.

The filing came just a day after Musk spoke at the 2022 TED Talk in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. During the event, Musk said he had actually secured funding to privatize Tesla at the time and slammed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as “bastards” for pursuing public investigations against him and his company despite knowing that.

Both Tesla and Musk agreed to pay civil fines of $20 million each after the SEC brought a lawsuit alleging the CEO defrauded Tesla’s investors with his “funding secured” tweet.

The settlement funds have since grown to about $41.2 million including interest, per the SEC. Last month, a federal judge approved the SEC’s proposed distribution plan for the settlement amount, which is intended to be paid out to Tesla shareholders.

As part of the settlement, Musk also stepped down as Tesla chairman and surrendered to having a company lawyer pre-approve some of his tweets before they are posted.

Musk “has used his fame and notoriety to sway public opinion in his favor, waging battle in the press having been defeated in the courtroom,” said the filing.

The court document added that Musk’s latest comments carry the potential to confuse jurors and prejudice a jury’s decision in the upcoming trial regarding how much the Tesla CEO owes the plaintiffs in damages.

Musk is petitioning the courts to end the SEC’s oversight of his Twitter after previously alleging that the watchdog leaked trade information from its probe into Tesla.

Musk in February accused the SEC of conducting “unfounded investigations” against him and his company, to which the agency responded days later.

Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk and Tesla, on Saturday reiterated that it was true that Musk was considering taking Tesla private in 2018 and actually had funding for that move. “All that’s left some half-decade later is random plaintiffs’ lawyers trying to make a buck and others trying to block that truth from coming to light, all to the detriment of free speech,” he said.