Over the past two weeks, Musk has made a number of changes to the legal department at the social media company.

According to seven people familiar with internal conversations, Mr. Musk appears to be getting ready for legal battles at the micro-blogging site. He and his team have made some changes to the legal department. Employees have been told not to pay vendors in case of litigation.

Three people close to the company said that the company has not paid rent for several weeks. The New York Times obtained a copy of a lawsuit that was filed in New Hampshire District Court.

The consequences of denying severance payments to people who have been laid off has been discussed by the leaders of the company. According to an internal email sent last Friday, Mr. Musk threatened employees with lawsuits if they talked to the media.

ImageAlex Spiro stands outdoors in a gray suit with members of the press and their equipment.
Alex Spiro, Mr. Musk’s personal lawyer, is no longer working at Twitter.Credit...Apu Gomes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Alex Spiro stands outdoors in a gray suit with members of the press and their equipment.

According to six people familiar with the decision, Mr. Spiro is no longer employed by the company. The people said that Mr. Musk was upset with some of the decisions made by Mr. Spiro.

James A. Baker was retained through Mr. Musk's various rounds of layoffs and firings. Mr. Baker was the general counsel at the F.B.I., advising the agency on politically fraught investigations into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

The lawyer was responsible for reviewing internal communications about the company's decision to suppress a New York Post story about Hunter Biden's laptop. Mr. Musk ordered that the communications be given to a group of journalists to expose the decisions made by the company's past executives.

  • An Established Pattern: Firing people. Talking of bankruptcy. Telling workers to be “hard core.” Twitter isn’t the first company that witnessed Elon Musk use those tactics.
  • Rivals Emerge: Sensing an opportunity, new start-ups and other social platforms are racing to dethrone Twitter and capitalize on the chaos of its new ownership under Mr. Musk.
  • The ‘Twitter Files’: Mr. Musk and Matt Taibbi, an independent journalist, set off an intense debate with a release of internal Twitter documents regarding a 2020 decision to restrict posts linking to a report in the New York Post about Hunter Biden.
  • Hard Fork: The Times podcast looks at Mr. Musk’s two-day clash with Apple, which he had accused of trying to sabotage Twitter before saying the “misunderstanding” had been resolved.

The legal talent at Mr. Musk's other companies has dried up due to layoffs and departures. According to two people and documents seen by The Times, more than half a dozen lawyers from the space exploration company have been given access to the internal systems of the social networking site. Chris Cardaci, the company's vice president of legal, and Tim Hughes, the company's senior vice president, global business and government affairs, are some of the employees who have joined the company on the micro-blogging site.

The spokesman did not reply to the request.

ImageTim Hughes, senior vice president, global business and government affairs at SpaceX, has been brought in to Twitter.
Tim Hughes, senior vice president, global business and government affairs at SpaceX, has been brought in to Twitter.Credit...Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, via Associated Press
Tim Hughes, senior vice president, global business and government affairs at SpaceX, has been brought in to Twitter.

The Federal Trade Commission is looking into whether the company is still following a consent decree. The company signed a consent decree with the F.T.C. after two data breeches. The company paid $150 million to the F.T.C. and Justice Department to resolve allegations that it had violated the terms of the consent decree.

Two people with knowledge of the matter say that the F.T.C. has sent a letter to the social networking site asking if it still has the resources to follow the decree. A spokeswoman for F.T.C. wouldn't say anything.

On Friday, as Mr. Musk encouraged the release of internal information, he also sent an email to employees noting that some were violating their nondisclosure agreements.

He wrote that if you violate the non-disclosure agreement that you signed when you joined, you will be held responsible for the full extent of the law. The email was reported.

There were about 7,500 full-time employees when Mr. Musk took over the company. The company decided to give U.S.-based employees at least two months of pay and one month of severance pay in order to comply with federal and state regulations.

Two people familiar with the discussions say that Mr. Musk's team is reconsidering whether or not to pay some of those months. Five people said that many former employees have not received separation papers. Mr. Musk refused to pay millions of dollars in exit packages to executives he claimed were terminated for cause.

Two people familiar with the discussion said that Mr. Musk's team was trying to change the terms of lease agreements. The company has received complaints from real estate investment and management companies.

A spokesman for the company wouldn't say anything.

The company has begun to list office supplies, industrial-grade kitchen equipment and electronics from its San Francisco office for auction, as well as laying off its kitchen staff.

According to four people familiar with the moves, Mr. Musk has continued to cut staff and leaders, including the global head of infrastructure and the global information technology head.

Mr. Musk had previously shared his ideas about how to work for him with employees of both companies. The message focused on first principles thinking, a way of thinking that Mr. Musk said helped him make difficult decisions. The other person was against workplace hierarchy.

The trust and safety council was notified on Monday that it would be dissolved. The council was made up of organizations focused on civil rights and child safety and was created to help with challenges of safety and moderation on the micro-messaging service.

The president of the Committee to Protect Journalists stated that safety online can mean survival offline. As a platform that has become a critical tool in both open and repressive countries, it must play a constructive role in making sure that journalists and the public are able to receive and impart information without fear of reprisals.

Michael S.Schmidt was a contributor. Kitty Bennett is a researcher.