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Opening statements begin with trial of Elon Musk’s Tesla tweets

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Opening statements begin on Wednesday in a trial that will determine whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk cheated investors by saying in 2018 tweets that he raised funding to take the electric car maker private.

A nine-member jury convened on Tuesday in a case that is expected to include testimony from Musk explaining his thoughts during one of his favorite pastimes, tweeting on the Twitter service he now owns.

Musk’s tweets triggered a surge in the company’s share price, which ended abruptly a week after it became apparent he didn’t have the funds to buy back after all. Investors then sued him, saying that Tesla’s stock wouldn’t have fluctuated so much if he hadn’t hesitated at the prospect of buying the company for $420 a share.

Musk’s tweet also drew the attention of securities regulators, who concluded that it was unacceptable and that he was lying. In the settlement, they made him pay $40 million and demanded that he step down as chairman of Tesla.

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