Elon Musk asks Texas court to ban testimony

Elon Musk asks Texas court to ban testimony

Feb 13 (Reuters) – Elon Musk has asked a judge to block a bid to question him in a lawsuit that claims he spread lies on his social media platform X that a California man participated in an extremist group’s street brawl.

The billionaire CEO in a filing in Texas state court, opens new tab on Monday called the move to depose him a “transparent effort to harass” him and drive up his litigation costs.

The October lawsuit by 22-year-old Benjamin Brody said Musk falsely trumpeted on X that Brody took part in a violent street brawl in Oregon on behalf of a neo-Nazi group in June.

Brody claimed users on X misidentified him as a participant, and that Musk, whose account on the site has tens of millions of followers, amplified that misinformation in a post that said “Looks like one is a college student (who wants to join the govt).” Brody asserts that reference was about him.

The lawsuit seeks more than $1 million in damages for what Brody called Musk’s “astonishingly reckless conduct,” and said he should be allowed to question, opens new tab Musk as part of the lawsuit “to explore concepts of negligence and malice.”

Musk is the only source of direct evidence as to his state of mind when making the statement, and Musk will be able to testify about issues involving his level of care,” Brody argued.

Musk has denied, opens new tab making any defamatory statement about Brody and asked the court to dismiss the case. He argued that his post was phrased generically and “did not reference Brody, directly or indirectly.”

Two lawyers representing Musk at law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An attorney for Brody did not immediately respond to a similar request.

The litigation comes amid heightened scrutiny of extremist rhetoric on Musk’s platform, which he purchased in 2022 for $44 billion.

Musk’s X is separately suing media watchdog Media Matters over its reporting showing ads on X appearing next to antisemitic content. X also has sued the Center for Countering Digital Hate, accusing it of “false and misleading” research reports about harmful content on the platform.

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