‘Nobody does this — only Elon does this’

For Musk himself, who has a long and controversial record of tweeting whatever comes into his head about business, politics and culture, the outcome of the trial may not matter much because even a loss wasn’t likely to make him change his ways.

The verdict isn’t likely to become a precedent that spurs more free-wheeling corporate disclosures on social media, said Adam Pritchard, a professor at University of Michigan Law School. That’s because other CEOs will continue to use conventional methods to communicate about company business, he said.

“Nobody does this — only Elon does this,” Pritchard said before the verdict. “He’s incorrigible. I don’t think his behavior can be reformed. There’s just too long of a track record of too much mischief.”

Though many executives testified, the three-week trial was all about Musk, its star witness.

At one point while the billionaire was on the stand, the lead lawyer for the shareholders mistakenly referred to Musk as “Mr. Tweet,” a name he seemed to enjoy and briefly embraced as the handle for his Twitter account.

Musk’s defense asked jurors to imagine a world through the entrepreneur’s eyes, in which a $60 billion deal to take Tesla private could be done on a handshake. The jury learned of his relationship with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and a 2017 dinner with him joined by Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, where taking Tesla private was discussed.

Musk testified that the “funding secured” tweet was “absolutely truthful,” touting what he described as an “unequivocal” commitment by Saudi Arabia even though he had nothing in writing.

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