Prosecutors may serve Tesla a subpoena in place of Elon Musk, a judge ruled Wednesday, to compel testimony from the tech mogul in a government lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase regarding the bank’s relationship with convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Attorneys representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein maintained a residence, charged that the bank helped facilitate Epstein’s long history of child sex trafficking and used Epstein’s relationships with other wealthy individuals to procure new business.
They attempted to subpoena Musk — who previously banked with JPMorgan and whom Epstein said he once advised — in April, but were unable to locate him. Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Southern District of New York authorized prosecutors’ request from earlier in the week to serve Tesla instead as Musk’s authorized agent.
JPMorgan has said the government’s allegations are meritless and has also moved to pin blame for any wrongdoing on former executive Jes Staley, who had been one of Epstein’s closest friends.
Staley once called his friendship with Epstein “profound,” according to legal filings. Staley has denied any wrongdoing.
The lawsuit against JPMorgan has involved other high-profile subpoenas. JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon is set to be deposed May 26.
Prosecutors have also subpoenaed Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, former Disney executive Michael Ovitz and billionaire hotelier Thomas Pritzker.
The subpoena of Musk, the owner of Twitter and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, orders him to turn over all records of communications with Epstein and JPMorgan, and “all documents reflecting or regarding Epstein’s involvement in human trafficking and/or his procurement of girls or women for commercial sex.”
Musk and representatives for Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
On Twitter late Monday, Musk called the subpoena “idiotic on so many levels,” and said of Epstein, “That cretin never advised me on anything whatsoever.”
Epstein in a 2018 interview with the New York Times said he had advised Musk during a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Musk’s leadership of Tesla. A Musk spokesman denied the exchange to the Times.
Musk also wrote on Twitter that he discontinued Tesla’s relationship with JPMorgan a decade ago.