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(Reuters) – Elon Musk will not be subjected to a "gag order" preventing him from discussing a lawsuit claiming he defrauded Tesla Inc. shareholders by tweeting in 2018 about taking his electric car company private, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco agreed with Mr. Musk and Tesla that the proposed temporary restraining order appeared overbroad because it prevented Musk from speaking to "anyone" about the case.
Chen also found no proof that letting Mr. Musk, the world's richest person, according to Forbes, talk publicly posed a "clear and present danger" or "serious and imminent threat" to a trial.
But the judge also said he plans to tell jurors at the scheduled January 2023 trial he had already ruled that Mr. Musk's tweets were false, and made with sufficient knowledge they were false.
Shareholders sued over losses resulting from volatility in Tesla's shares after Mr. Musk tweeted on Aug. 7, 2018, that he had "funding secured" to potentially take Tesla private at $420 per share, and that "investor support is confirmed."
Nicholas Porritt, a lawyer for the shareholders, in an email said he was pleased that jurors will be instructed that the tweets "were false and were made fraudulently by Elon Musk." He said the primary remaining issue is the amount of damages owed.
Lawyers for Mr. Musk and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reuters) – Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk on Tuesday asked a judge to terminate or modify a 2018 agreement with the U.S. securities regulator requiring some of his tweets to be vetted by a lawyer.