Feb 8 • 25M

Elon, Being Elon, Gets A Win

Plus: the FTX investigation, when the state bar comes after you, and writing a book about the investigation when it didn't go the way you thought it should.

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An irreverent podcast about the law from Josh Barro and Ken White.
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Dear listeners,

On this week’s show, we talk about Elon Musk’s win in the civil trial over whether his “funding secured” statements defrauded shareholders. Musk had wanted this trial moved from San Francisco to Texas because he thought Bay-Area jurors would be biased against him. But the jury handed him a clean win — and at least one suggested in an interview that they didn’t even buy the judge’s ruling that Musk’s statements were false and reckless.

We talked about how “that’s Elon being Elon” can be a defense — much of what the jury had to consider here is what a reasonable person would have thought of Musk’s statements, and as Matt Levine notes, it’s reasonable to assume less solidity in a take-private announcement from Musk than from, say, Tim Cook.

We also talked about Sam Bankman-Fried and the ever-sprawling pool of potentially-cooperating witnesses who might tell prosecutors about his and FTX’s wrongdoing.

That’s the extent of the free episode. For paying subscribers, there’s more:

  • We talked about John Eastman, whom the California Bar may disbar because of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. It’s an unusually aggressive move for the state bar, possibly spurred by criticism that they were asleep at the switch regarding misconduct by onetime super-lawyer (and onetime Real Spouse of Beverly Hills) Tom Girardi.

  • We talked about Mark Pomerantz, who formerly worked for the Manhattan DA on a criminal investigation into Donald Trump in his businesses. When that investigation didn’t lead to an indictment of Trump personally, he quit and now he’s written a book about the investigation and what he thinks could have been charged. Are… you allowed to do that? No, you’re not allowed to do that, and we talked about what consequences might befall Pomerantz.

  • And as always, we talked about George Santos. Politico says the FBI is looking into whether he pocketed $3,000 he raised on GoFundMe that was supposed to pay for surgery for a veteran’s sick service dog. $3,000 isn't that much money in the scheme of things, but this is the sort of outrageous detail prosecutors love because it makes juries mad, even as part of a longer indictment about more pedestrian crimes involving larger amounts of money.

Thanks for listening, and we’ll be back soon.

This episode is for paid subscribers