Elon Musk Lawyer Spiro Avoids Sanctions As Defamation Lawsuit Proceeds

Elon Musk Lawyer Defamation

A Texas judge on Wednesday allowed a defamation lawsuit against Elon Musk to proceed but denied the request to sanction Musk’s prominent attorney, Alex Spiro. Judge Maria Cantu Hexsel rejected the motion to dismiss the Travis County lawsuit filed by plaintiff Benjamin Brody last year. Musk had argued that the case violated a state law designed to deter lawsuits punishing defendants for speaking out on public issues.

Brody’s lawyer, Mark Bankston, celebrated the decision on Musk’s social media platform, X, stating, “Despite facing this challenge at the outset of the case, we prevailed.” Brody sued Musk after Musk falsely implied in a post on X that Brody had participated in a right-wing street brawl in Oregon. Musk denies defaming Brody and participated in a virtual deposition in March.

Spiro participated in the deposition despite not being licensed to practice law in Texas and lacking the court’s explicit approval to represent Musk in the case. Brody’s lawyers complained about this last month. As part of their sanctions request, Brody’s team sought legal fees and a ruling to block Spiro from appearing in the case. On Wednesday, Judge Hexsel rejected the sanctions bid and permitted Spiro to represent Musk.

Spiro and his law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, declined to comment on the decision. The firm had previously called Brody’s sanctions request “meritless.” Spiro and his firm denied violating any court rules and labeled the sanctions request as “gamesmanship.” They argued that Spiro had “reasonably” expected approval for his pending request to appear in the case, even though the firm acknowledged they “should have been more diligent” in seeking a ruling on the submission.

During the March deposition, both Brody’s and Musk’s lawyers accused each other of being unprofessional and disruptive. Spiro has long been a top lawyer for Musk, representing him in cases involving the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and other matters.