Elon Musk has requested that his upcoming Tesla shareholder trial be moved out of San Francisco. According to the Associated Press, the billionaire’s personal lawyer, Alex Spiro, filed the request late Friday, less than two weeks before the trial is set to begin on January 17th.
Musk’s legal team claims that “a substantial portion” of the potential jury pool in San Francisco is biased against Musk as a result of recent media coverage criticizing his actions at Twitter and the company’s seemingly never-ending layoffs.
Musk has requested that the trial be relocated to Texas, where Tesla’s headquarters have been located since late 2021. Musk made “false and misleading” statements in 2018 when he said he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share, according to the class action lawsuit.
Musk’s now-famous “funding secured” tweet landed him in hot water with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, resulting in a $40 million settlement.
Last spring, the shareholders involved in the lawsuit won an early victory when federal judge Edward Chen ruled that Musk had “recklessly made the statements with knowledge of their falsity.”
The upcoming trial will determine whether Elon Musk tweet influenced the automaker’s stock price and whether he should be held liable for any resulting losses.
“Musk’s concerns are unfounded and his motion is meritless,” Nicholas Porritt, one of the lawyers representing Tesla shareholders, told the Associated Press.
“The Northern District of California is the proper venue for this lawsuit and where it has been actively litigated for over four years.” On Saturday, Judge Chen told the two sides he would hear Musk’s request on January 13th.