A court has granted investors’ motion to serve subpoenas to preserve documents to the rapper Azealia Banks and singer Grimes in a lawsuit against Tesla and Elon Musk, according to new court documents.
On Tuesday, the US District Court of Northern Californiagranted the motionto serve document preservation subpoenas against Banks, Grimes (whose real name is Claire Boucher), as well as Business Insider, The New York Times, and Gizmodo.
Adam M. Apton of Levi & Korsinsky, the firm representing the investors, told Business Insider that he plans to serve all five parties subpoenas to preserve evidence.
The subpoenas will exclusively call for the parties to refrain from destroying certain documents, messages, and other potential evidence, as opposed to calling for them to provide the evidence to the court. The court denied investors’ request to for propound document requests, or request further information.
Plaintiffs are investors who are suing Tesla and Musk in a class-action lawsuit, claiming that Musk made false and misleading statements when he tweeted about plans to take the company private at $420 a share. These tweets, the complaint alleges, negatively impacted people who purchased Tesla stock soon after Musk tweeted about his plans, as they falsely believed that he had funding secured to take the company private.
Grimes was dating Musk at the time of the tweet, and recently accompanied the Tesla CEO on a trip to China. Banks, meanwhile, said she was staying at one of Musk’s Los Angeles properties soon after he posted the tweet, andtold Business Insidershe saw Musk “scrounging for investors” when she stayed at his house.
In December, attorneys representing the investors led by Apton moved for permission to subpoena Banks and Grimes. The motion also proposes subpoenaing Business Insider — which interviewed Banks regarding her time at Musk’s property — as well as Gizmodo and The New York Times, which interviewed Musk.
“Ms. Boucher and Ms. Banks were in close contact with Mr. Musk before and after the tweet and are believed to be in possession of relevant evidence concerning Mr. Musk’s motives,” Apton told Business Insider earlier in January. “Business Insider also appears to have relevant evidence in light of its relationship with Ms. Banks.”
The motion to serve subpoenas seeks to require the parties to preserve information, such as Twitter and Instagram messages, that could be relevant to the case. The filing argues messages posted on social media and shared via text message are “highly susceptible to deletion.”
While the court granted the motion, the filing also said that the “claim that Defendants have a practice of trying to silence critics is not well supported” and called Apton’s claims that Banks may have been pressured to destroy evidence “largely speculative.”
Banks, Boucher, and Musk’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Tesla declined to comment.