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Jan 4, 2019

Elon Musk isn’t keen on investors dragging his girlfriend into tweet lawsuit

Elon Musk

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Elon Musk’s lawyer has a theory for why investors suing the Tesla Inc. (TSLA.O) chief executive officer are so eager to draw his girlfriend at the time into a case related to his now-infamous tweet about taking the electric-car maker private.

“It is readily apparent that this is more of an effort to sensationalize these proceedings than a legitimate attempt to preserve evidence,” attorney Dean Kristy said in a court filing Thursday.

Kristy was responding to attorneys representing Tesla shareholders who say the Canadian singer Claire Elise Boucher, also known as Grimes, may have first-hand knowledge about what Musk was thinking Aug. 7 when he shocked the world with his tweet: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”

The investors cite media accounts placing Musk in the company of Boucher, and a second woman described as a rapper, Azealia Banks, around the time of the tweet. They contend it’s not unreasonable to subpoena Boucher and Banks to ensure the preservation of anything in writing that might be relevant to the lawsuit -- Twitter and Instagram messages in particular. They also want to subpoena the New York Times, Gizmodo and Business Insider because they interviewed Musk and Banks and “have information bearing on the veracity of Musk’s tweet.”

Typically, pretrial information sharing in shareholder securities fraud cases doesn’t begin until after a complaint has been legally tested in court, which hasn’t happened yet in the Musk tweet litigation. 

Kristy urged the judge to deny the investors’ request, saying it’s no more than “rank speculation” that Boucher has anything useful to offer about Musk’s behavior or his conversations around the time of the tweet.

“Indeed, every defendant in every securities class action has a spouse, significant other and friends, but that does not justify discovery of them,” he wrote.

Attorneys for the shareholders didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.