Twitter will interview Elon Musk, known for his fighting expressions

WILMINGTON, Del., Sept 26 (Reuters) – Billionaire Elon Musk’s penchant for hurling insults under oath will be tested again this week when lawyers for Twitter Inc ( TWTR.N ) interview Tesla Inc ( TSLA ). .O) CEO on his sudden decision to back out of a $44 billion deal for the social media company in July.

The world’s richest man, who has testified in past court cases, called opposing lawyers “reprehensible”, questioned their happiness and accused them of “extortion”. He asked an attorney if he was working on an unexpected case because the attorney’s client had allegedly fallen behind on child support payments.

“Either you’re in reserve, or you’re taking that kid’s money. Which is it?” Musk requested a whistleblower from an attorney in a case against Tesla, according to a transcript of a 2020 deposition.

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The high-stakes Twitter interview is closed to the public. A lawsuit filed last week said Musk’s sleepover would begin Monday and last until Wednesday if necessary. Sources with knowledge of the deposition said that Musk had not been questioned on Monday and did not know what day he would start, and did not say why the delay had occurred.

Musk’s lawyers will want to keep him focused on answering questions, but that could be difficult for such an intelligent and opinionated witness, said corporate litigator James Morsch, who is not involved in the legal battle.

“I would compare it to trying to catch a tiger by the tail,” Morsh said.

In a 2019 lawsuit over Tesla’s takeover of solar panel maker SolarCity, Musk refused to answer one of the preliminary questions five times because of the way he worded it.

“We can stare at each other until you do it again,” Musk told opposing attorney Randall Baron.

“I think we’re going to void that deposit,” Baron replied. Baron suggested asking Musk for directions to answer the questions that seem to be driving things.

Twitter declined to comment, and Musk’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter’s lawyers are expected to use the interview to show that Musk backed out of the deal because of falling financial markets, not because the company misled him about the number of real users or hid security flaws, as he claims.

Musk wants a judge to let him walk away without penalty, while Twitter wants an order forcing him to buy the company for $54.20 per share. Shares of Twitter rose 0.4% to $41.58 on Friday.

A five-day trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 17 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Each side, including Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, is questioning witnesses and gathering evidence to make their case.

Elon Musk’s Twitter profile is seen on a smartphone placed over printed Twitter logos in this April 28, 2022, photo illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Agrawal was due to answer questions from Musk’s lawyers at a law firm in San Francisco at 9 a.m. local time on Monday, although sources said the deposition was also delayed and did not give a reason.

Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey was supposed to be fired last week.


Musk sometimes displayed the same charm and intelligence in his remarks that he applies on Twitter, where he has built a cult-like following.

The atmosphere of the Twitter deposit can be particularly crowded. His legal team includes the firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and the lead attorney on the case, Bill Savitt, who initially represented Musk and Tesla in the SolarCity deal, though during discovery and trial testimony.

Savitt did not respond to a request for comment.

Twitter is also represented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

One constant in the three depositions reviewed by Reuters is Musk’s dislike of opposing attorneys, whom he accuses of “scheming” and prosecuting only for money.

“I heard yesterday that 3% of the US economy is legal services. That’s one of the saddest facts I’ve heard in a long time,” Musk told lawyer Baron in a SolarCity deposition.

The lawsuit with Tesla whistleblower Martin Tripp, who accused the company of wasting raw materials, began when Musk asked if he understood his oath to testify.

“That sounds like a kind of legal, semantic argument. What is the whole truth of something?” Musk asked, according to the transcript. “You say it is a tree? What kind of tree is it? Is it a tree with many leaves?” Or — if you say something, the tree is the whole truth? No, of course not.”

Tripp’s attorney reminded Musk that the judge had warned that he would personally monitor the deposition if the questions were not answered correctly.

“Are you going to follow the judge’s advice there? attorney William Fischbach asked.

“Sure,” Musk said.

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Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Edited by Amy Stevens and David Gregorio

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tom Hals

Thomson Reuters

Award-winning reporter with more than two decades of experience in international news, focusing on high-stakes legal battles on everything from government policy to corporate deals.

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