Elon Musk’s Request to Delay Twitter Trial Denied by Court
Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s request to delay the upcoming trial over his $44 billion USD acquisition agreement with Twitter has been rejected by a Delaware court — reports The Verge.
Musk originally filed to terminate his Twitter bid in July. Twitter sued the celebrity billionaire to follow through on the deal, and the two sides are now slated to meet in court on October 17 for a five-day trial that will determine the fate of the merger.
In a Tuesday hearing, Musk’s lawyers argued to delay the trial by a “meagre” few weeks to review new information. Meanwhile, Twitter accused Musk of trying to prolong the trial and “sow chaos” with more document requests. Musk initially wanted the trial to take place next year.
Judge Kathaleen McCormick ultimately ruled against an extension in the trial date. She said that Twitter would be unduly harmed by any further delays.
“The company has been forced for months to manage under the constrains of a repudiated merger agreement,” McCormick in her ruling. “I am convinced that even four weeks’ delay would risk further harm to Twitter too great to justify.”
Musk’s side did score a small win on Tuesday, though, as McCormick agreed to admit recent claims made by Twitter’s ex-security chief, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, into the case.
Back in July, Musk cited Twitter’s continued understatement of bot accounts on its platform and withholding of related information as cause for suspending the deal.
In recent legal filings, Zatko laid accusations of executive misconduct and noncompliance at Twitter. He also corroborated Musk’s concerns regarding spam/fake accounts, alleging that the company doesn’t have the means or the motivation to accurately calculate the number of bot accounts on Twitter.
In light of Zatko’s claims, Musk is likely to pivot his defence toward arguing that Twitter concealed “material adverse effects” to the company’s business beyond just an underestimation of bots.
Judge McCormick ruled that Musk is free to amend claims before the trial starts, setting aside Twitter’s objections. However, she added that she was “reticent to say more concerning the merits of the counterclaims” before the litigation.
McCormick ruled that the two sides will negotiate on “limited” discovery of new documents pertaining to Zatko’s allegations.
Twitter has subpoenaed several of Musk’s allies and members of his inner circle to aid in its case. Musk, on the other hand, has subpoenaed Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, among others.
Twitter is seeking to prove that Musk pulling out of their deal was a case of cold feet that had nothing to do with bots.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the company presented a text message from Musk urging his banker to “slow down” the acquisition for a few days after a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin. “It won’t make sense to buy Twitter if we’re heading into World War 3,” Musk wrote in the message.