Elon Musk's former chief of staff on Wednesday testified that the billionaire believed he had a “handshake deal" to take Tesla private in 2018 shortly before he tweeted he had the financing for an aborted buyout that is still haunting him in a high-profile trial.

Sam Teller, who worked closely Musk from 2014 to 2019, detailed a series of meetings that his former boss held with representatives from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, AP reports.

His remarks came during testimony that also shed light on the quirks of a billionaire who runs Tesla, rocket ship maker SpaceX and Twitter.

Among other things, Teller said he sometimes had to “soften” Musk’s blunt emails. Teller attributed Musk’s brusque manner to Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that Musk acknowledged having during a May 2021 television appearance hosting “Saturday Night Live.”

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