OpenAI hired a lawyer who helped force Elon Musk to buy Twitter

L-R) Tesla Motors CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk and Y Combinator President Sam Altman speak onstage during "What Will They Think of Next? Talking About Innovation" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.
OpenAI has brought in some heavy hitters.Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair
  • OpenAI has hired high-profile attorneys to fight Elon Musk's lawsuit.

  • One who's helping battle Musk previously aided Twitter in a legal conflict with the billionaire.

  • Musk's lawsuit alleges OpenAI breached its "founding agreement."

OpenAI is bringing in some heavy hitters in its legal battle with Elon Musk.

The billionaire is set to face off again with a lawyer who helped Twitter sue Musk after he attempted to back out of his $44 billion purchase of the social-media platform. Reuters was the first to report on the connection.

A recent filing from OpenAI shows the company hired two attorneys from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to represent OpenAI and additional lawyers from Morrison & Foerster to represent its other defendants, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

One of the lawyers from Wachtell, William Savitt, helped lead Twitter's case against Musk.

Musk settled before the lawsuit got to trial, and he ultimately bought Twitter at his original offer price — but not before the dozens of Musk's private text messages made it into the public eye through discovery.

The Tesla CEO also sued Wachtell last year in an attempt to avoid paying $90 million in legal fees that the organization had accrued in its battle against Musk.

The law firm was one of several companies Musk was accused of trying to stiff after he took Twitter private.

Meanwhile, the two Morrison & Foerster attorneys that OpenAI brought in — Jordan Eth and Ragesh Tangri — helped represent Wachtell in Musk's lawsuit against the firm. The case went into private arbitration in October.

Musk has his own formidable lineup of attorneys as well. The billionaire is represented by Morgan Chu, Alan Heinrich, and Iian Jablon of Irell & Manella.

Chu was once called the firm's "$5 billion man" because of his history of securing wins for his clients, Bloomberg previously reported. The firm has also worked with Tesla in the past.

Musk sued OpenAI and some of its cofounders earlier this year, alleging the company had breached its "founding agreement" and was at risk of violating its nonprofit mission of benefiting humanity through its partnership with Microsoft.

Legal experts previously told BI that the case wasn't strong but the lawsuit could still be a headache for OpenAI if it dragged out in court.

Musk helped found OpenAI in 2015 and has said he invested tens of millions of dollars into the artificial-intelligence venture. He walked away from the company's board in 2018, citing a potential conflict of interest over Tesla's AI efforts.

Over the years, Musk has repeatedly criticized OpenAI and Altman. The company clapped back at Musk in a legal filing that was made public on Monday, calling the billionaire's suit "frivolous" and "incoherent." Earlier this month, OpenAI published what it said were some emails between Musk and its founders.

Representatives for Musk and OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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