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Tesla Denies Report it Has Lost Another Key Executive

Elon Musk's EV company has had a hard time retaining its lawyers.
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Tesla  (TSLA) , the electric vehicle manufacturer, appears to have a hard time retaining its lawyers.

The automaker has had several lawyers resign for various reasons since its general counsel quit in 2019.

However in the latest case, reported by Bloomberg Law, the company is  denying the story. 

According to Bloomberg Law, David Searle, who was the head of Tesla's legal department, parted ways with Tesla just under a month ago. The report cited three people who are familiar with his departure.

He had been in charge of an internal probe looking into the purchase orders for the company. He began working at Tesla in 2021 to run its compliance department. His title was acting head of legal and corporate secretary. Searle previously served as vice president, chief ethics and compliance officer at Walmart and had been a federal prosecutor from 2008 to 2012.

Searle has been replaced by Dinna Eskin, who served as a deputy general counsel at the company, sources told Bloomberg. Eskin began working for Tesla in 2017, serving as the senior counsel, commercial.

Tesla Denies Lawyer's Departure

However, Tesla, in a tweet reacting to the Bloomberg story, wrote: "This Bloomberg article is false. David Searle has not left Tesla." The company offered no further details. It doesn't maintain a public affairs office. 

An Internal Probe

The internal investigation led by Searle was looking into Omead Afshar, who reports directly to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Afshar serves as the project director for Musk, working on dealing with supply chain issues to obtain construction materials, the article said.

A query into glass that has been difficult to order resulted in the firing of a few Tesla employees, Bloomberg reported.

The company has hired three other attorneys since Jonathan Chang, who served as general counsel from 2011 to 2019 left. Chang began working for artificial intelligence companySambaNova Systems in 2019.

Searle replaced William Berry, who served as vice president of legal. Berry now works as general counsel for cloud-based security company Verkada Inc.

Tesla has also hired Derek Windham to serve as a senior director and deputy general counsel for corporate and securities. He had previously served as a corporate governance expert at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.

Michael Munro was hired by Tesla to serve as its new head of compliance after serving as a lawyer in the oil and gas industry.

Musk's October Trial

Musk faces a major trial in October over his effort to abandon his deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion.

He backed out of the acquisition after claiming that Twitter  (TWTR) , the social media platform, did not tell the truth about the number of fake accounts known as spam bots that exist on the platform. 

The civil trial between the two parties will start on Oct. 17 and last until Oct. 21.

Back in May, Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla was seeking to create a "a hardcore litigation department where we directly initiate & execute lawsuits."  He added that "The team will report directly to me."

The automaker has been embroiled in several other lawsuits, including harassment.

Several Black employees at Tesla said the company has not prevented  preventing racial discrimination and sued the EV automaker for intimidation and harassment.

That lawsuit includes 15 former or current employees who allege that management at the company's Fremont, California factory is not taking steps to prevent the harassment.

The Black employees filed a lawsuit in state court in Alameda County, California on June 30. They said they were the targets of numerous derogatory comments, racial slurs and racially-motivated harassment at the plant.