As Business Insider reports, according to new court papers issued on Tuesday (January 15), investors have been permitted to summon Azealia Banks and Grimes to testify in the case, specifically requesting them to preserve documents such as Twitter and Instagram messages for potential evidence.
Adam M. Apton of Levi & Korsinsky, the firm representing the investors, told Business Insider he planned to serve subpoenas to Banks and Grimes, as well as Business Insider, The New York Times, and Gizmodo, the latter two of which interviewed Musk regarding his now-infamous tweet.
In August 2018, the Tesla co-founder and CEO tweeted that he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
While Musk’s legal team claims that the tweet was an in-joke with his then-girlfriend Grimes (real name Clare Boucher) as a nod to ‘4.20’ weed culture, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SSEC) argued that it amounted to fraud based on “a series of false and misleading tweets about a potential transaction to take Tesla private.”
The plaintiffs – the investors suing Tesla and Musk in a class-action lawsuit – allege that the tweet negatively affected people who purchased Tesla stock soon after it was posted because they falsely believed Musk had funding secured to take the company private.
Levi & Korsinsky’s subpoenas will ask the parties to refrain from destroying certain documents, messages, and other potential evidence instead of calling them to court to provide the evidence.
Their filing argues that messages posted on social media and shared via text message are “highly susceptible to deletion.”
Banks is involved in the case on the grounds that she said that she was staying at one of Musk’s Los Angeles properties soon after he posted the tweet.
Banks, Boucher, and Musk’s lawyer did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. Tesla declined to comment.