Attorneys representing Tesla CEO Elon Musk are seeking the dismissal of a multi-billion dollar case that accuses the celebrity entrepreneur of insider trading with Dogecoin (DOGE) against his online followers. Musk’s lawyers argue that the accusations should be dismissed with prejudice, preventing the plaintiffs from burdening the judicial system with further claims based on Musk’s Twitter activity.
The lawsuit, initially filed in June 2022, sought $258 billion from Musk to compensate for investor losses resulting from his promotion of DOGE in early 2021. Since then, the lawsuit has been amended three times, with insider trading and market manipulation charges added to the case in June 2023. The plaintiffs’ complaint specifically identified wallets that Musk allegedly traded DOGE from while influencing the asset’s price through his tweets.
In response, Musk’s lawyer, Alex Shapiro, labeled the repeated plea attempts by the disgruntled investors as “baseless” and “frivolous.” He argued that the lawsuit was unfounded and merely based on Musk’s harmless and often humorous tweets about DOGE. Furthermore, Shapiro stated that there is nothing unlawful about expressing support or sharing funny pictures about a cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of over $11 billion.
Musk’s lawyers highlighted the lack of evidence linking the identified wallets to the CEO, suggesting that the plaintiffs failed to establish a valid claim. The defense team emphasized that the plaintiffs couldn’t demonstrate that Musk’s cheerleading for Dogecoin was materially false or misleading, nor that Defendants acted with any wrongful intent. They argued that the statements made by Musk, such as “Dogecoin to the moooonn” and “Dogecoin will live forever,” fell under the category of puffery – vague and exaggerated statements that don’t convey an exact meaning or intent.
Public Knowledge and Speculative Nature of Dogecoin
Both parties agreed that Dogecoin is a highly speculative investment. The defense asserted that this fact was widely known and obvious, citing Dogecoin founder Billy Markus’s own acknowledgment of its speculative nature. They argued that Musk’s alleged falsehoods were not material non-public information about Dogecoin, and therefore, the insider trading accusation was without merit.
Musk’s lawyers contended that the plaintiffs had ample opportunity to present their case, but their allegations fell significantly short of establishing any cause of action. They claimed that the complaints lacked specificity and failed to sufficiently articulate a viable complaint.
The legal battle between Elon Musk and the plaintiffs accusing him of insider trading and manipulating Dogecoin’s price continues. Musk’s lawyers aggressively called for the dismissal of the case, characterizing the allegations as baseless and frivolous. While the outcome of this case is yet to be determined, it underscores the challenges faced by public figures like Musk in navigating the boundary between expressing personal opinions and potentially influencing financial markets through social media. Only time will tell how this case will impact the landscape of cryptocurrency promotion and regulation.