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Drama Between Musk, Tesla Whistleblower: 'Horrible Human Being'

2nd whistleblower says Tesla tried to destroy previous whistleblower Martin Tripp
By Richard Kemeny,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2019 11:00 AM CDT
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at a news conference in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

(Newser) – More details are emerging about the ongoing saga between Elon Musk and a former Tesla employee. Martin Tripp, a whistleblower who aired alleged evidence of dangerous practices in Tesla's Nevada battery factory, has been accused of leaking information about the company and stealing data; a lawsuit was filed against him. Tripp then countersued Tesla for defamation, denying that he'd written hacking software to steal data. The enfolding drama has been "almost like a movie," Tony Dosen, a Storey County sheriff's deputy, told Tripp at one point. That's per Matt Robinson and Zeke Faux, who've been following the developments for Bloomberg Businessweek in a deep dive investigating the story behind the headlines.

The battery factory’s security manager has now also filed a whistleblower report, explaining that Tesla investigators hacked Tripp's phone, seemingly during an interrogation session, and had him followed; they also allegedly misled police. A Tesla rep says the allegations are untrue. Robinson and Faux also detail a particularly heated email exchange between Musk and Tripp, in which both called each other "a horrible human being." An anonymous tip that Tripp was planning a mass shooting was placed to a Tesla call center just hours after that exchange, a tip that was relayed to the local sheriff's office. Musk then emailed a reporter at the Guardian explaining that Tripp "was going to come back and shoot people." Tripp was found by Dosen that day outside a casino crying, without a gun. "They keep saying I'm stealing data," Tripp said. "I'm not that smart." More on the back-and-forth here. (Read more Tesla stories.)

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