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Tesla Publicly Lied on Twitter, Got Epicly Debunked by Court Documents
The stream of bad news about Tesla seems to be at a peak. Quality issues keep popping up. Racism and sexual harassment lawsuits present a bad picture of how it is to work for the company. Full Self-Driving and Autopilot are constantly hit by courts and traffic safety experts. All the EV maker didn’t need was to be publicly exposed for lying. Yet, this is precisely what happened with a Bloomberg story about David Searle.

Tesla Publicly Lied on Twitter, Got Epicly Debunked by Court Documents

Tesla FremontTesla FremontTesla FremontTesla FremontTesla FremontTesla FremontTesla FremontTesla FremontTesla FremontTesla tweeted that David Searle was still its head of legal on August 17. He wasn't
If you are not aware of who the man is, he used to be Tesla’s head of legal. The former federal prosecutor was hired by Tesla in 2021 to lead its compliance department. He was promoted when William Berry left his vice president of legal position at the EV maker. One of his most famous tasks at Tesla was overseeing an internal investigation involving Omead Afshar, deemed one of Elon Musk’s top lieutenants. He was also the executive running Giga Austin.

According to Bloomberg, Afshar was involved with the purchase of hard-to-find construction materials, more specifically, a special kind of glass. The deal was tagged as suspicious, and an internal investigation was opened. Afshar “parted ways” with Tesla soon after that. It is not clear if he was fired, chose to leave, or was given a chance to pretend he wanted new challenges.

Bloomberg did not make a direct link between Afshar’s departure and Searle leaving the company, but the way things happened suggests that may be the case. Tesla also did not care to explain anything, which makes suspicions that the two events are connected even stronger.

It was July 21 when the media company first published about the investigation that got Afshar out of Tesla. On August 17, Bloomberg published that Searle had left the company “less than a month ago” and before the annual shareholders' meeting that happened on August 4. In other words, sometime between July 21 and August 4 would fit the description pretty well.

Bloomberg also tweeted about its scoop. Tesla took less than two hours to reply to that tweet: “This Bloomberg article is false. David Searle has not left Tesla.” The EV maker investors celebrated the rare PR move from the company as proof that Tesla would not go public if what the media company published was not a lie. Well, it wasn’t.

Bloomberg stated that Searle was replaced by Dinna Eskin, then a deputy general counsel at Tesla. That was confirmed by “a notarized affidavit under oath” she submitted to the Delaware Chancery Court as part of a defense in the Twitter Inc. vs. Elon Musk lawsuit.

The document was revealed by PlainSite in a tweet posted on September 16. In it, Eskin wrote: “I have managerial responsibility over Tesla’s legal department, have sole authority to act in a leadership capacity over that department, and continue to serve in those roles through the present.” Summing up, Searle is not there anymore, and he probably has not been since before Bloomberg said he left.

Eskin also clarified that there is no “General Counsel” at Tesla and that she is the Senior Director of Legal, which is “functionally equivalent to the role commonly known as ‘General Counsel.’” She also states that “it is well understood within Tesla that any references in Tesla’s internal documents to Tesla’s ‘General Counsel’ now refers to the Senior Director of Legal.” Bloomberg Law went after that and confirmed the information.

PlainSite said that the document shows Eskin certified that “her employer posted a materially misleading statement of fact on an SEC-regulated communication medium viewed by millions and ‘liked’ by thousands.” For PlainSite, Tesla did not only publicly lie about Searle leaving the company: that false statement was supposed to have serious legal consequences for Tesla with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

If SEC agrees with that and decides to sue the EV maker due to the now-debunked tweet, that’s another brick in the wall of negative news the company is building for itself these days. Expect Tesla investors to blame the messenger instead of asking for changes in the company: that’s what led it to its current state of affairs.




Editor's note: The gallery presents images of the Tesla Fremont factory.

 
 
 
 
 

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