- Elon Musk called a lawyer a “bad human” in court on Monday.
- Musk was defending Tesla’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity in court.
- Musk told the lawyer, representing Tesla shareholders, that his questions were “tricky and deceptive.”
Elon Musk sparred with a lawyer representing Tesla shareholders in court on Monday, calling the attorney a “bad human.”
The Tesla CEO was defending his company’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity in 2016, a solar panel company founded by his cousins. The plaintiffs claim the deal amounted to a bailout of SolarCity.
Musk gave lengthy responses to yes or no questions during the trial at Delaware’s Court of Chancery, frustrating opposing attorney Randall Baron, who told Musk he was holding up the trial, delawareonline.com and AP reported.
Musk told Baron that some of his questions were “really tricky and deceptive,” per AP.
“I think you are a bad human being,” Musk also told Baron, after the lawyer asked him if he was being “derisive” in his answers to questions, per The Washington Post.
“You were mentored by criminals, then you continued to be mentored by criminals,” Musk said to Baron, the Post reported. Musk cited examples of criminal wrongdoing by a former partner at a firm that was a predecessor to Baron’s law firm, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, the Post reported.
Tesla shareholders filed the lawsuit in 2017, claiming that Musk had pressured the company’s board to effectively bail out SolarCity in the $2.6 billion deal. Musk owned a roughly 22% stake in the firm at the time, according to Reuters.
Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s co-founder and Musk’s cousin, described the firm as “super low on cash” and in need of capital in an email to an unnamed person in 2016, soon after the deal was announced.
Read more: Tesla and real-estate giant Brookfield are building a neighborhood in Austin full of renewable-energy tech
Musk denied that he had benefited from the deal. “Since it was a stock-for-stock transaction and I owned almost exactly the same percentage of both there was no financial gain,” he told the court, per CNBC.
In an email to Insider, Baron said that the full damages sought by the lawsuit were between $2.2 and $2.6 billion, although Musk could pay less if found liable.
SolarCity became Tesla’s solar power division, Tesla Energy, after the acquisition. Insider spoke to Tesla Energy solar panel owners earlier this year who said Tesla had not responded to their calls and bumped up solar roof prices by thousands.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider when reached for comment.
Do you work at Tesla Energy or are you a Tesla Energy customer? Contact this reporter at [email protected]. If you are an employee always use a non-work email.