Tesla CEO Elon Musk told a San Francisco jury Monday that he was merely considering taking Tesla private when he tweeted in 2018 that he had «secured» the funding to do so, and that the funding would come in part from his involvement. at SpaceX. Musk’s Rocket Company.

But Nicholas Porritt, the lawyer representing the plaintiff Tesla shareholders in the case, argued that in previous statements on the matter, Musk never mentioned SpaceX. Porritt argued that the tweet was based on conversations Musk had with officials from Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund about a deal that was far from materializing.

Musk is being sued by Tesla investors who claim the August 2018 private tweet caused them to lose substantial sums of money. US Judge Edward Chen has already ruled that the tweet was false and reckless, but Musk thinks he can convince the jury that he didn’t know the tweet was false when he sent it and that, in any case, stock price movements Tesla are not directly tied to his tweets.

«Just because I tweet something doesn’t mean people believe it or act on it,» Musk told a jury Friday in San Francisco federal court.

With Judge Chen already ruling that the «financing secured» tweet was reckless, Porritt must convince the jury that Musk deliberately lied in the tweet and therefore cost shareholders millions of dollars.

On Monday on the witness stand, Musk continued to defend his thinking behind the tweet, claiming it was designed to reassure shareholders before the Financial Times published an article that the Saudis had taken a $2 billion position. in the company.

In his questioning of Musk, Porritt went through a litany of accepted behaviors, such as consulting with lawyers or a company’s board of directors, which he argued Musk should have undertaken before tweeting about taking Tesla private, but which he said Musk ignored.

Porritt further argued that there was no basis for Musk to publicly disclose that the funding had been secured, since no documentation of a deal had been created.

But Musk insisted the logic behind the tweet was sound, based on statements he said was passed on to him by a Saudi official.

«With the prior investment they had made, there was no discussion of price, no documents signed,» Musk said. He added: «It is reasonable to expect that they will behave in the same way in the future as they have in the past.»

In opening remarks last week, Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, said Musk believed he had financing from Saudi backers and was taking steps to make the deal happen. Fearing media leaks, Musk tried to protect the «common shareholder» by sending the tweet, which contained «technical inaccuracies,» Spiro said.

Porritt argued that Musk knew that a deal between Tesla and Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund had not yet materialized.

Trial is a rarity: Most shareholder lawsuits are dismissed or settled out of court. In 2019, Musk convinced another jury that he did not malign British cave diver Vern Unsworth when he called Unsworth «fart boy» in another 2018 tweet.

When asked Friday about requests from Twitter stakeholders to avoid tweeting, Musk said he couldn’t recall them. Musk now owns Twitter, having completed his purchase of the social media platform last fall.