Tesla CEO Elon Musk defends Tesla Inc's 2016 deal for SolarCity at the Williams Justice Center in a case before the Delaware Court of Chancery, in Wilmington, Delaware, US, July 12, 2021 in this courtroom sketch. (Reuters)

Tesla founder Elon Musk took to a witness stand Monday to defend his company’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity.

Elon is the defendant in a lawsuit that claims he’s to blame for a deal that was rife with conflicts of interest and never delivered the profits, he’d promised.

The lawsuit by union pension funds and asset managers alleges the celebrity CEO strong-armed Tesla’s board of directors into depleting the company’s assets with the US$2.6 billion all-stock deal for SolarCity.

The CEO at the time owned a roughly 22 percent stake in both Tesla and SolarCity, which was founded by his cousins, and some Tesla shareholders alleged the deal was aimed at bailing out Musk’s investment in the solar panel company.

“I think you are a bad human being,” Musk told Randall Baron, a lawyer for shareholders who was pressing Musk to acknowledge his mistakes in helping engineer the acquisition of SolarCity, a manufacturer of solar panels.

“I have great respect for the court,” Musk later added, “but not for you, sir.”

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