Elon Musk says he can’t get a fair trial in California, he wants to in Texas

Musk’s lawyers said along with the negative local media coverage, the recent layoffs could affect a “significant portion” of San Francisco jurors.

WASHINGTON — Elon Musk has urged a federal judge to postpone the trial of the San Francisco shareholders’ lawsuit because he says negative local media coverage turned potential jurors against him.

Instead, in a filing filed late Friday night — less than two weeks before the trial began on January 17 — Musk’s lawyers say the case should go to federal court for the Western District of Texas. The area includes Austin, where Musk moved his electric vehicle company Tesla in late 2021.

The shareholder lawsuit stems from Musk’s tweets in August 2018 when he said he had enough funding to buy Tesla back at $420 a share — an announcement that caused massive volatility in Tesla’s share price.

Last spring, when shareholders prevailed, Judge Edward Chen ruled that Musk’s tweets were false and reckless.

If rescheduling the lawsuit is not possible, Musk’s lawyers want it to be delayed until the negative publicity regarding the Twitter billionaire’s purchase subsides.

“Over the past few months, the local media has filled the area with biased and negative stories about Mr. Musk,” lawyer Alex Spiro wrote in a court document. In the news, Musk is personally blamed for the recent Twitter layoffs, writes Spiro, and alleges that the job cuts may even have violated laws.

Attorneys for shareholders emphasized that the request came at the last minute, saying: “Musk’s fears are unfounded and his petition is baseless.”

“The Northern District of California is the right place for this lawsuit, where it has been under active consideration for more than four years,” lawyer Nicholas Porritt wrote in an email.

The statement from Musk’s lawyers also notes that Twitter has laid off about 1,000 residents in the San Francisco area since it bought the company in late October.

“A significant portion of the jury … is likely to have a personal and financial bias against Mr. Musk as a result of recent layoffs at one of his companies, as individual potential jurors – or their friends and relatives – may have been personally affected,” it says. in the message.

Musk has also come under fire from the mayor of San Francisco and other local officials for cutting jobs, the statement said.

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