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

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON (AP) – Elon Musk has urged a federal judge to move a trial in a shareholder lawsuit out of San Francisco because he says negative local media coverage has biased potential jurors against him.

Instead, in a filing late Friday — less than two weeks before the trial was set to begin on January 17 — Musk’s lawyers argue that the trial should be moved to the federal court in the Western District of Texas. This district includes the state capital of Austin, which is where Musk is moving his electric car company, Tesla, in late 2021.

If a move is not possible, Musk̵[ads1]7;s lawyers want the trial delayed as negative publicity regarding Musk’s purchase of Twitter has died down.

“For the past several months, the local media has saturated this district with biased and negative stories about Mr. Musk,” attorney Alex Spiro wrote in a lawsuit. Those items have personally blamed Musk for recent layoffs on Twitter, Spiro wrote, and have charged that the job cuts may have even violated laws.

The shareholder lawsuit stems from Musk’s tweets in August 2018 when he said he had sufficient funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share, an announcement that caused major volatility in Tesla’s stock price.

The shareholders’ lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a victory for shareholders last spring, Judge Edward Chen ruled that Musk’s tweets were false and reckless.

The filing from his lawyers also notes that Twitter has laid off about 1,000 San Francisco-area residents since he bought the company in late October.

“A significant portion of the jury pool … is likely to have a personal and material 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 submission.

Musk has also been criticized by San Francisco’s mayor and other local officials for the job cuts, the filing said.

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