The trial of SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk is set to begin on April 10th. The trial, which has already generated a lot of headlines, will focus on charges of fraud and illegal operation of a public company. It’s no secret that Musk is a controversial figure. Some hail him as a visionary investor and entrepreneur, while others see him as arrogant and self-promoting. Regardless of your feelings about Musk, it’s worth taking a look at some of the comments made by prospective jurors in regards to his intelligence and narcissistic tendencies.
Background on Elon Musk
Known for his innovative business practices, electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company, respectively, Elon Musk is also known for his egocentric personality. Jurors in his upcoming trial have been called upon to decide if this self-promotion and lack of empathy amounts to criminal intent.
According to testimony during the preliminary hearing, on July 5, 2013, at 2:47 p.m., Musk sent an email to his then-girlfriend actress Talulah Riley announcing that he had made a $20 million investment in her startup The Boring Company (now known as The Loop): “Just dropped $2 million into The Boring Company. Will provide ample funding for growth.” Riley testified that she interpreted this email as a sign that Musk was invested in her company and felt obliged to reciprocate by providing financial support.
Musk’s erratic work behavior has also raised red flags with prospective jurors. During the preliminary hearing, one potential juror said: “I don’t like how he operates…he doesn’t seem very reliable.” Another potential juror described him as “a little too narcissistic” and said that it was concerning “that somebody who’s running two companies like that has so much ego.”
The Legal Proceedings Against Musk
The legal proceedings against Elon Musk have continued in the past few weeks, with the trial set to resume on January 17. The charge levied against Mr Musk is fraud, with the SEC alleging that he misled investors about the viability of Tesla and SpaceX. In order to prosecute him, the SEC will need to prove that Mr Musk knew he was lying and intended to deceive investors.
There is a lot at stake for Mr Musk if he is found guilty. He faces a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Additionally, Tesla could be subject to SEC sanctions, which could result in a loss of stock value and damage to the company’s reputation.
Several prospective jurors have spoken out about their impressions of Mr Musk since being selected for service earlier this month. Some say they find him arrogant and narcissistic; others say he is intelligent and forward-thinking. However, most seem open-minded enough to consider all of the evidence presented during the trial…
The Jury Selection Process
The process of selecting a jury in a criminal trial can be long and complex. Prospective jurors are first screened for qualifications, and then called in for questioning by the court. If they pass muster, they are then selected based on their ability to objectively judge the case.
One potential hurdle that prospective jurors may face is Elon Musk’s reputation as a self-promoter. Some prospective jurors say they found his style offensive, claiming it’s evidence of his narcissistic personality traits. Others say they’re impressed by Musk’s intelligence and business acumen.
Ultimately, the weight of evidence will determine whether or not Musk is convicted of fraud.