Federal Judge Dismisses Fraud and Defamation Lawsuit Against Elon Musk Amid a Week of Controversy

Elon Musk
Elon Musk Photo: The Royal Society [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
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A federal judge in California dismissed a securities fraud and defamation lawsuit filed by a Tesla investor against Tesla Inc., the company’s CEO Elon Musk, and a Musk supporter on May 19.

Judge James Donato threw out the lawsuit by the investor, Aaron Greenspan, a legal document website owner, after noting that the lawsuit had no legally plausible claims.

Greenspan had alleged that Omar Qazi, a Musk fan, made a series of defamatory tweets that made baseless accusations against him, and asserted that the tweets were part of a conspiracy campaign of 80,000 coordinated tweets that praised Tesla and attacked its critics.

Qazi had previously called Greenspan’s allegations “absurd,” and Tesla’s attorneys have disputed Greenspan’s allegations as baseless conspiracy theories.

Donato had previously dismissed the case, which was originally filed in 2020, back in June, but he gave Greenspan the opportunity to file another complaint on federal legal issues.

The judge ruled that claims such as defamation made under California law would be taken up later as warranted.

Donato, in his order to dismiss, found that Greenspan failed to provide facts to support his allegations, or that Qazi acted as an agent of Tesla or Musk.

Musk has lately been embroiled in controversy since his planned acquisition of Twitter, regarding statements criticizing the Biden administration and a claim of sexual harassment.

The Tesla CEO on Thursday denied a report by Business Insider that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a private jet in 2016, calling her a liar.

“But I have a challenge to this liar who claims their friend saw me ‘exposed’—describe just one thing, anything at all (scars, tattoos, …) that isn’t known by the public. She won’t be able to do so, because it never happened,” Musk wrote in a tweet.

Musk on May 18, in the middle of his effort to buy Twitter, said he would now vote Republican instead of Democrat.

“In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party. But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican. Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold …,” he posted on Twitter.

By Bryan Jung

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