The court trial to decide whether a tweet Elon Musk sent in 2018 cost Tesla investors millions of dollars will resume Friday, and Musk himself could take the stand.

Tesla shareholders are suing the company to recover losses they say they suffered amid claims by Musk that he had «secured» money to take the company private at $420 a share.

If the plan had finally come to fruition, the people who owned Tesla stock at the time could have made a profit on their holdings. But when it became clear there was no take-home deal, Tesla’s shares began a steady slide that continued into the following year.

On Wednesday, Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Tesla CEO Musk, called the 2018 tweet «a split-second decision» meant to show Musk was being transparent about discussions that had taken place with the investment fund. Saudi Arabia on a possible deal.

«He wasn’t planning on tweeting this,» Spiro said.

Nicholas Porritt, an attorney representing lead plaintiff Glen Littleton, 71, of Kansas City, Missouri, and other shareholders, alleged that Musk defrauded them.

“His lies caused regular people like Glen Littleton to lose millions and millions of dollars,” Porritt said, adding that the tweet also hurt pension funds.

After the trial was adjourned Wednesday, Porritt told the Associated Press he expects to call Musk to the stand Friday after two other witnesses testify. If the allotted time runs out, Musk will most likely testify on Monday, Porritt said.

It is not the first time that Musk has been sued for his speech on Twitter. He won a defamation lawsuit in 2019 submitted by Vernon Unswortha diver whom Musk called «fart boy» on the rig as Unsworth helped rescue a stranded soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand.

Musk could not be reached for comment.

The trial is unusual in that most shareholder class action lawsuits are dismissed or settled. In this case, Musk and his lawyers say they think they can convince a jury that his tweets about turning Tesla back into a private company were made in good faith.

Littleton told the nine-person San Francisco jury that Musk’s claim about the funding alarmed him. According to his testimony, Littleton had bought Tesla investments designed to reward him for his belief that the automaker’s shares would eventually be worth much more than the $420 a share that Musk claimed would be the price at which the company would go private. .

Littleton said he sold most of his holdings to cut his losses, but still saw the value of his Tesla portfolio drop by 75%.

“The damage was already done,” Littleton said. «I was in shock.»

Associated Press contributed.