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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

There's another shake-up in Tesla's top ranks: Tesla announced late Thursday that the prominent trial lawyer Dane Butswinkas, chairman of the Beltway firm Williams & Connolly, is joining the company as general counsel. He's replacing Todd Maron, who has been the electric automaker's top attorney for the last half-decade.

Why it matters: It's the latest in a series of moves over the past year or so that have overhauled Tesla's executive team.

  • The move comes as Tesla and CEO Elon Musk are implementing settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which have stemmed from Musk's early August statements about the subsequently aborted plan to take Tesla private.
  • The settlements require Tesla's board to have more independence from Musk and forces the company to impose new oversight of his shoot-from-the-hip Twitter style.

The big picture: CNBC notes that Butswinkas arrives as Tesla is dealing with a series of other regulatory and legal challenges.

  • And more broadly, the company is also transitioning into a bigger and more global player as it ramps up production of the Model 3 and plans to build a new factory in China.

What they're saying: According to Tesla's announcement, the move completes a transition plan for Maron that began in July.

"Tesla has been like family to me, and I am extremely grateful to Elon, the board, the executive team, and everyone at Tesla for allowing me to play a part in this incredible company."
— Maron in the announcement.
  • Butswinkas, meanwhile, said Tesla presents an "inspiring" opportunity: "Tesla’s mission is bigger than Tesla — one that is critical to the future of our planet. It’s hard to identify a mission more timely, more essential, or more worth fighting for," he said.
  • According to Bloomberg, Musk first tapped Butswinkas as an outside attorney to help with the SEC case.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 25 mins ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.