Elon Musk defends Tesla and SolarCity deal in court

Elon Musk

Elon Musk appeared in court this morning in Wilmington, Delaware over a lawsuit that alleges he used his influence as CEO of Tesla to complete an acquisition of SolarCity in 2016.

The lawsuit, which was brought by union pension funds and asset managers, accuses Musk of bailing out the solar panel maker, a claim he denied when asked about it in court on Monday.

At the time of the deal in 2016 Musk owned a 22% stake in SolarCity, which was founded by two cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive, as well as a 22% stake in Tesla. During questioning from his lawyer Evan Chesler, Musk said there was no personal financial gain as part of the deal.

He also denied the claim he threatened Tesla board members to make sure the deal happened. When asked what his relationship is like with the board, Musk said it was “good” and that they provide good oversight for Tesla shareholders.

 “I’d say good. They work hard and are competent. They provide good advice and are rigorous in acting on behalf of shareholders.” (via Reuters)

Things got a little feisty when Musk was questioned by the plaintiff’s attorney, Randy Baron. Musk said he doesn’t respect Baron and called him a “bad human being” because of the previous law firms he worked at. Some of his partners at Milberg Weiss were imprisoned for paying kickbacks to witnesses and plaintiffs. A similar scenario occurred at his next law firm, Robins Geller, where partners were also jailed.

“You were mentored by criminals. Then you continued to be mentored by criminals and that is why I don’t respect you. I think you are a bad human being,” Musk said.

Musk is the lone defendant as the rest of the board settled a similar claim last year for $60 million, but did not admit fault.

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