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Elon Musk is asking that a Tesla case trial be moved out of San Francisco as jurors there could be biased. Their opinion could have been directly influenced by the Twitter layoffs that have taken place in recent months, as well as the much negative attention to Musk that is in large volume in that geographic area.
Elon Musk wants his upcoming Tesla case trial moved from San Francisco. Tesla's CEO and the owner and CEO of Twitter, have offered to hold a trial in west Texas, according to a filing by his lawyers on Friday.
A substantial portion of the San Francisco-area jury pool “is likely to hold a personal and material bias against Mr. Musk as a result of recent layoffs at one of his companies as individual prospective jurors—or their friends and relatives—may have been personally impacted,” the lawyers wrote. “The existing baseline bias has been compounded, expanded, and reinforced by the negative and inflammatory local publicity surrounding the events.”
This is true, since Twitter has laid off thousands of employees living in the San Francisco area, so there is a very high possibility that some of the jury pool could be a relative or friend of the affected employees. In addition, Twitter has become a hot topic locally, and Musk personally is often portrayed as a villain by the local media, which creates a lot of negativity among the locals, and in turn, can affect the objectivity of the jury in the Tesla trial.
The lawsuit concerns Musk's tweets in August 2018, when he wrote that he was ready to buy Tesla shares and take the company private.
“To be clear, this motion is not being brought simply because Mr. Musk has been the subject of negative news coverage. Mr. Musk has been a public figure for more than a decade and recognizes that being the subject of negative and even unfair media attention comes with the territory,” according to the filing. “The local media and political establishment have attempted to depict Mr. Musk as personally responsible for causing material economic harm to the significant number of potential jurors impacted by the layoffs and to the City of San Francisco as a whole.”
Musk's lawyers said west Texas would be a better place than northern California to take Tesla's case. There, Musk has not been the subject of huge negative media coverage, meaning the likelihood of jurors being biased is greatly reduced.
“Mr. Musk is far likelier to receive a fair trial in the Western District of Texas,” they wrote. “Mr. Musk has not been the subject of overwhelming, pervasive, and inflammatory press coverage by the local media in the Western District of Texas, like he has in this district. Texas news outlets publish far fewer stories about Mr. Musk.”
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.