Details from a former Twitter privacy chief could be used as evidence, but the judge claimed the delay was requested by Musk.
A US judge has ruled that Elon Musk can use new evidence from a Twitter whistleblower in his legal dispute with the social media giant, but denied Musk’s request to delay the upcoming trial.
Musk, who is trying to cancel a previous agreement to acquire Twitter for $44 billion, asked for a four-week adjournment before the trial begins in October. A judge denied that request on Wednesday, saying delaying the trial could cause damage to Twitter. The trial will begin on October 17.
“I believe a delay of even four weeks would risk further harm to Twitter Too great to justify,” wrote Prime Minister Kathaleen St Jude McCormick, chief justice of the Delaware Premier Court.
Musk refused his consent to acquire Twitter in July, claiming that the company was not transparent about the number of “spam” accounts on the site. Musk has said that the popularity of such accounts falsely increases the site’s user base.
Public disclosure of the former chief security officer of Twitter Peiter Zatko could bolster Musk’s prospects in the courtroom: Zatko has stated that Twitter has failed to crack down on spam accounts and bypass security measures. Zatko is expected to testify before the US Congress about his claims next week.
“We hope that winning the amendment will bring us one step closer to the truth presented in that courtroom,” said Alex Spiro, Musk’s attorney. If Musk loses in courthe could face termination fees of up to $1 billion.
Shares of Twitter rose about 4% in early Wednesday trading to $40.15. Musk offered $54.20 a share in his offer.
“We look forward to presenting our case in court on October 17 and plan to close the transaction on the price and terms agreed with Mr. Musk,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
The judge’s decision came after an hour-long hearing on Tuesday in which attorneys for Musk and Twitter debate the merits of Zatko’s claims and the speed with which both sides are presenting evidence before the trial.
Twitter’s lawyers downplayed the importance of Zatko’s statements to the dispute, saying that the initial 27-page complaint he sent to Twitter and the subsequent request for retaliation did not include the claims. references to the “spam bots” issues that Musk quote as the basis for the termination of the transaction.
The company has said that Musk is using bot claims as a cover to back out of a deal he signed in April, when he agreed to pay 38% off Twitter’s pre-share price. vote of electric car maker Tesla lost over $100 billion in value. Most of Musk’s fortune is in Tesla shares.
Since pulling out of the deal, Musk has publicly attacked Twitter several times, and the company has accuse Musk damage the value and reputation of the company.
In their lawsuit, Twitter claims that Musk “clearly believes that he – unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law – is free to change his mind, sabotage the company, disrupt operations, move, destroy shareholder value, and walk away.”
McCormick said Wednesday that Zatko’s statement formed the basis for Musk’s legal team to modify their suit, but did not include further details.
“I discreetly talk more about the merits of counterclaims in this position before they are fully litigated,” she wrote. “The world will have to wait for the decision after the trial.”