Musk reopens Tesla’s plant, dares authorities to arrest him

Elon Musk restarted production at Tesla Inc.’s only U.S. car plant, flouting county officials who ordered the company to stay closed and openly acknowledging he was risking arrest for himself and his employees. “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.” After fending off a potentially costly defamation lawsuit and emerging with mild consequences from a court battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year, Musk, 48, seems emboldened to again try his luck with the law. The lead lawyer on Tesla’s lawsuit Saturday against California’s Alameda County over its reopening restrictions helped Musk beat the casebrought by a cave diver he called a pedophile in 2018. After claiming Covid-19 wasn’t all that viral a disease, then calling panic about it “dumb” in March, he’s also theorized fatality rates are overstated, promoted the antimalarial drugs dubiously embraced by President Donald Trump and wrongly predicted that new caseswould be close to zero by the end of April. California Governor Gavin Newsom sought to ease tensions earlier Monday, saying that he believed Tesla would be able to begin operations as soon as next week. Valerie Capers Workman, Tesla’s head of North American human resources, emailed production staff to notify them that their furlough ended Sunday and that managers will contact them within 24 hours with their start date and schedule. “My belief and hope and expectation is as early as next week, they will be able to resume.” Tesla sued the county over the weekend after it told the company it didn’t meet criteria to reopen. The health officers for Alameda and six other San Francisco Bay area counties and cities decided late last month to extendtheir restrictions on businesses through the end of May. Capers Workman told employees that the state had “given the green light for manufacturing to resume.” Musk tweeted over the weekend that Alameda’s refusal to let Tesla reopen the Fremont factory was “the final straw” and that he’d immediately move Tesla’s headquarters to Nevada or Texas. “We have a culture in our state where these huge corporations run by billionaires ‘move fast and break things,’” Lorena Gonzalez, a California assemblywoman, tweeted Monday.