Testifying in past legal battles, the world’s richest person called opposing lawyers ‘reprehensible’, questioned their happiness and accused them of ‘extortion’. He asked a lawyer if he was working on a contingency because the lawyer’s client was allegedly late in paying child support.
“So probably you’re on a contingency or you’re taking that kid’s money. Which one?” Musk told a whistleblower attorney in a case against Tesla, according to a 2020 transcript of the deposition.
The high-stakes Twitter interview is closed to the public and is scheduled to begin Monday and continue through Wednesday, if necessary, according to court records.
Musk’s lawyers will want him to focus on answering questions, but that can be a challenge with such a smart and opinionated witness, said James Morsch, a corporate lawyer who isn’t involved in the court battle. .
“I would compare it to trying to hold a tiger by its tail,” Morsch said.
During a 2019 deposition in litigation over Tesla’s takeover of solar panel maker SolarCity, Musk five times refused to answer one of the initial questions because of the way it was phrased, according to the transcription.
“We can stare at each other until you rephrase the question,” Musk told opposing attorney Randall Baron, according to a transcript.
“I guess we’ll just cancel that deposition,” Baron replied. Baron suggested he would seek an order from the judge ordering Musk to answer questions, which seemed to move things along.
Twitter declined to comment, and Musk’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Twitter lawyers should use the interview to try to show that Musk left the deal because of the fall in financial markets and not because the company misled him about the actual number of users or hid loopholes. security, as he claimed.
Musk wants a judge to allow him to walk away without penalty, while Twitter wants an order forcing him to buy the company for $54.20 a share. Twitter’s stock ended up 0.4% at $41.58 on Friday.
A five-day trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 17 in Wilmington, Delaware.
Dozens of depositions are expected in this case, including that of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, as each side interviews witnesses and gathers evidence to make their case.
Musk has at times displayed in his depositions the charm and wit he displays on Twitter, where he has built a cult following.
The atmosphere of depositions on Twitter could be particularly tense. Its legal team includes law firms Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and lead counsel in the case, Bill Savitt, initially represented Musk and Tesla in the SolarCity deal, but not during discovery and depositions. in the dispute.
Savitt did not respond to a request for comment.
Twitter is also represented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
A constant in the three depositions reviewed by Reuters is Musk’s dislike of opposing lawyers, whom he accuses of “cheating” and suing him just for the money.
“I heard yesterday that 3% of the American economy is made up of legal services. That’s one of the saddest facts I’ve heard in a long time,” said Musk Baron, the attorney in the SolarCity deposition.
The deposition in the litigation with Tesla whistleblower Martin Tripp, who accused the company of wasting raw materials, began with Musk being asked if he understood the oath he swore. ready to testify sincerely.
“It sounds like some kind of legalese, a semantic argument. The — what’s the whole truth of something?” Musk said, according to the transcript. “You say, ‘Is that a tree? What kind of tree is that? Is that a tree with lots of leaves?’ Or is it… if you say something is a tree, is that all the truth? No, of course not.”
Tripp’s attorney reminded Musk that the judge had warned that he would oversee the deposition in person if the questions weren’t answered properly.
“Do you intend to comply with the judge’s admonition?” asked attorney William Fishbach.
“Of course,” Musk replied.