Tesla hires former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission trial attorney David Miesler as management legal counsel

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The logo marks the showroom and service center of American automobile and energy company Tesla in Amsterdam on October 23, 2019.

John Tees | AFP | Getty Images

According to his LinkedIn profile, Tesla has hired David Misler as its new management consultant. Misler is a former trial attorney with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and previously worked in the US Department of Justice.

Tesla has repeatedly clashed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, most notably the statement made by CEO Elon Musk on his Twitter account, where he has accumulated tens of millions of followers.

In 2018, after the CEO tweeted that he was considering privatizing the company at a price of $420 per share and obtaining funding in 2018, the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged Musk and Tesla with securities fraud. Musk later cancelled the plan. Tesla and Musk reached a settlement with regulators, each paying a fine of 20 million U.S. dollars, and signed an agreement requiring the CEO to temporarily abandon the position of chairman of the board of directors. The lawyer reviews his tweets.

When Musk continued to tweet spontaneously, the original agreement was revised in 2019. The FBI filed a motion to contempt him. A judge asked both parties to wear “reasonable pants” and clarified that the exact type of Musk’s tweets required a lawyer’s review.

In June of this year, the “Wall Street Journal” reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission subsequently accused Musk of violating the revised agreement, tweeting that Tesla’s stock price was too high, and discussing production figures for solar roofs.

The legal transparency website Plainsite also published records in June showing that the SEC had subpoenaed Elon Musk, his former chief of staff Sam Teller, his personal wealth manager Jared Birchall, his personal office Excession LLC and Elon Musk Revocable Trust Specified and possibly unrelated investigations.

According to Tesla’s most recent quarterly documents, the company regularly responds to requests for “information provided by regulators and government authorities (including the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice).”

Tesla warned investors in the document, “If the government decides to take enforcement actions, it may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, prospects, cash flow and financial conditions.”

Misler wrote in a LinkedIn post announcing his return to the private sector at the end of October:

“About nine years ago, I joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., where I swore that I would faithfully represent the United States as its lawyer. After two years of SEC trial, my federal service last Friday End of the unit.” He thanked his colleagues and continued: “Today, a new journey begins. I started as a litigation management consultant at Tesla. I will support our important mission of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

Miesler and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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