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A Tesla lawyer has asked a law firm to fire one of its lawyers or risk losing his job for the electric carmaker led by Elon Musk, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
The Tesla lawyer wanted Cooley LLP to fire previously worked at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The attorney questioned Musk as part of the agency’s investigation into the Tesla CEO’s claim in 2018 that he secured funding to take Tesla private, the publication said.
The investigation led to a settlement in which Musk and Tesla agreed to pay a fine of $20 million each and Musk agreed to step down for three years as Tesla chairman.
Tesla’s attorney late last year asked Cooley to fire the attorney working on the SEC investigation, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The firm did not fire the partner.
Tesla has offered to replace Cooley or hire other attorneys in several cases since December, according to the Journal.
Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, has also stopped working with the law firm on regulatory matters, she also stopped working. with the law firm, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Tesla has its ties to the SEC. The company hired David Misler, a former defense attorney for the agency, as legal counsel. Musk has faced more regulators than the SEC.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated whether Tesla’s Autopilot assistance system is at least partially responsible for incidents where Tesla cars crashed into parked first responder vehicles.
The agency called Missy Cummings, a Duke University professor, automated systems expert, former Navy fighter pilot and Tesla critic, as a consultant on the investigation.
Musk tweeted in October that “his resume is extremely biased in favor of Tesla,” prompting outcry among his supporters.
NHTSA then asked Cummings to recuse himself from Tesla-specific questions, the Journal reported on Saturday.