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Musk tells jury he's worth $20 billion, but is short on cash

Dana Hull and Edvard Pettersson, Bloomberg News on

Published in Business News

LOS ANGELES -- Elon Musk says he doesn't have a lot of cash.

Musk's wealth came up in the second day of his testimony before a federal jury in Los Angeles where the Tesla Inc. and SpaceX chief executive is on trial over a tweet in which he referred to a British cave expert as a "pedo guy."

After an unsuccessful objection from his lawyer, Musk told the jury he has Tesla stock, and SpaceX stock, with debt against those holdings, and his net worth is about $20 billion. But contrary to public opinion, he said, he didn't have much cash. Musk finished testifying after a total of about six hours on the stand over two days.

Caver Vernon Unsworth sued Musk over the "pedo guy" tweet, which the CEO called "a flippant, off-the-cuff insult." Musk said he was responding to Unsworth's criticism of Musk's effort to help rescue members of a Thai soccer team from a flooded cave in 2018. Musk and engineers at his companies prepared a mini submarine to help with the rescue efforts. The 12 kids, aged 11 to 16, and their coach were ultimately saved without the sub.

Usnworth, who knew the caves well, ridiculed the high-profile effort from Musk. He told CNN that Musk could "stick his submarine where it hurts" and called the idea a PR stunt with no chance of working.

That angered Musk, who said a team of engineers worked very hard to build the sub to save the boys. He said Unsworth's comments denigrated the efforts of his team.

 

Thai rescue officials were "very happy" with his team's effort and the government thanked him for it, Musk said, contradicting Unsworth's comments in the CNN interview.

Musk also explained to the jury his penchant to tweet. (He retweeted a Tesla post during a break in his testimony.)

Musk said he likes to solicit public input on Twitter.

"There are pretty smart people out there," Musk said.

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