Prospective jurors share varied opinions of Elon Musk ahead of civil trial

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By Euronews  with AP
Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington.
Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington.   -   Copyright  Susan Walsh/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.

A nine-person jury was selected on Tuesday to hear a trial that will determine whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk cheated investors with tweets in 2018 saying he had plans to make the electric automaker private.

The five-hour process set the stage for opening statements to begin Wednesday in the case, which is expected to include testimony from Musk to explain his thinking while tweeting on the Twitter service that he now owns.

The challenge of finding jurors without strong feelings about Musk became evident during Tuesday’s painstaking selection process.

Seven jurors were questioned individually, away from the rest of the jury pool, to reduce the chances of influencing the opinions of others in the courtroom.

They described Musk as “arrogant,” “narcissistic,” “unpredictable,” “a little off his rocker,” “a mercenary”, "smart", "successful" and “a genius.”

In the Tesla case, Musk’s tweets fueled a rally in the company’s stock price that abruptly ended a week later after it became apparent that he did not have the funding for a buyout after all. Investors then sued him, saying that Tesla shares would not have swung so widely in value if he had not dangled the prospect of buying the company for $420 per share.

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