Musk wants change of venue for shareholder trial

Elon Musk is asking for a trial in a shareholder lawsuit to be moved out of San Francisco, saying the jury pool may be biased.

Musk’s lawyers made a filing on Friday making the request less than two weeks before the Jan. 17 trial.

They want to move the case to the federal court in the western district of Texas.

That district includes the state capital of Austin, which is where Musk relocated his electric car company, Tesla, in late 2021.

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ELON MUSK Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk alongside the electric automaker’s logo. (Getty Images/AP / Getty Images)

The suit stems from Musk’s tweets in August 2018 when he said he had sufficient financing to take Tesla private at $420 a share.

The moved caused wild swings in the company’s share price.

A judge last spring ruled Musk’s tweets were false and reckless.

If moving the trial isn’t possible, Musk’s lawyers want it postponed until negative publicity regarding the billionaire’s purchase of Twitter has died down.

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Tesla

Elon Musk, Founder and Chief Executive of Tesla. ((Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images / Getty Images)

“For the last several months, the local media have saturated this district with biased and negative stories about Mr. Musk,” attorney Alex Spiro wrote in a court filing.

Those news items have personally blamed Musk for recent layoffs at Twitter, Spiro wrote, and have charged that the job cuts may have even violated laws.

The filing by Musk’s attorneys also notes that Twitter has laid off about 1,000 residents in the San Francisco area since he bought Twitter in late October.

Tesla Supercharger and Tesla Model X car

A Tesla recharging location. (iStock / iStock)

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The shareholders’ attorneys emphasized the last-minute timing of the request, saying, “Musk’s concerns are unfounded and his motion is meritless.”

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TSLA TESLA INC. 113.06 +2.72 +2.47%

Musk has also been criticized by San Francisco’s mayor and other local officials for the job cuts, the filing said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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