Elon Musk Testifies Tesla Buyout Would Have Been Possible with SpaceX Shares

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is currently trial for a 2018 tweet in which he claimed having “funding secured” to take the automaker private.

During his testimony on Monday, Musk said on Monday that he could have sold SpaceX shares to fund a buyout, as a potential alternative to the Saudi financing to take Tesla private in 2018, according to a report from TechCrunch.

“I was worried that shareholders would think that I was trying to exclude them,” Musk said in defense of the tweet, adding that he was worried the news would leak from media outlet Financial Times. “And I want it to be clear that I was trying to support them.”

The claim comes after Musk said tweeted he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share, and investors claim they lost millions as a result of the tweet.

Musk is on trial at a Federal Court in San Francisco until February 1, and a verdict will be decided upon by a jury of nine — debating whether the CEO deliberately inflated the company’s share price with the tweet, and if so, then by how much.

As a result, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has established protocols to oversee Musk’s tweets before they can be posted. The arrangement pre-dates Musk’s deal to buy Twitter, which took place recently after the billionaire CEO attempted to back out of the initial contract.

Musk attempted to have the trial moved to Texas, but was denied by Federal U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in a San Francisco hearing.

Judge Chen also ruled Musk’s tweet “inaccurate” last year, adding that he thought a jury would find that the CEO was acting recklessly when posting the claim.