Elon Musk found not guilty of defrauding Tesla investors over 2018 buyout tweets

ITV News' Bairbre Holmes recaps how the legal challenge against Mr Musk came to be

Elon Musk has been cleared of defrauding Tesla investors in relation to tweets the tech billionaire posted in 2018.

The nine-member jury reached its verdict after less that two hours of deliberation, following a three-week trial which saw Mr Musk spend nearly eight hours on the witness stand defending his motives.

Although Mr Musk was not present for the reading of the verdict, he did make a surprise appearance earlier on Friday for the closing arguments.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, Mr Musk celebrated on Twitter, saying: "Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed!"

The trial pitted Tesla investors, represented in a class-action lawsuit, against Mr Musk, who is CEO of both the electric car manufacturer and Twitter - the social media firm he bought towards the end of 2022.

Shortly before boarding his private jet on August 7, 2018, Mr Musk tweeted that he had the financing to take Tesla private.

However, it was later revealed that he had not received an iron-clad commitment for the deal, which would have cost $20 billion (£17 billion) to $70 billion (£58 billion) to pull off.

Several hours later, Mr Musk sent another tweet indicating that the deal was imminent.

Nicholas Porritt, an attorney who represented aggrieved Tesla investors, said he was disappointed after urging the jurors in his closing arguments to rebuke Mr Musk for reckless behavior which threatened to create "anarchy".

"I don’t think this is the kind of conduct we expect from a large public company," he said.

"People can draw their own conclusion on whether they think it's OK or not."

During their discussion with Mr Porritt, the jurors said they found Mr Musk's testimony that he believed he had lined up the money from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund without a written commitment to be credible.

They also expressed doubt about whether Mr Musk's tweeting was the sole reason for the swings in Tesla's stock price during a ten-day period in August 2018, covered within the case.

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