Elon Musk has asked a federal judge to move prosecution in a shareholder lawsuit out of San Francisco because he believes negative local media coverage has biased potential jurors against him.
Musk’s lawyers asked late Friday to move the trial to a federal court in West Texas, which includes the state capital Austin. Musk has moved his electric car company Tesla to Austin in late 2021.
If such a move is not possible, Musk’s lawyers have requested that the trial, set to begin on January 17, be postponed until the negative publicity related to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter subsides. .
“Over the past several months, the local media have saturated this district with biased and negative stories about Mr. Musk,” attorney Alex Spiro wrote in a court filing. Those stories have blamed Musk on Twitter for the recent firings, Spiro wrote, and pointed out that the firings violated the law.
The shareholder lawsuit stems from Musk’s August 2018 tweet, when he said he had enough money to take Tesla private at $420 per share, an announcement that triggered sharp volatility in Tesla’s share price.
In a shareholder victory last spring, Judge Edward Chen ruled that the tweets were false and reckless.
The filing by Musk’s lawyers also said Twitter has laid off about 1,000 residents of the San Francisco metropolitan area since it acquired the company in late October.