Elon Musk's attorneys accuse Twitter of stalling on document production, refusing to provide data
Elon Musk's attorneys have accused Twitter of slow-walking document production in advance of an October trial to decide whether the Tesla CEO should be forced to complete a billion acquisition of the social media company.
In a court filing on Tuesday, lawyers of the billionaire also said Twitter Inc. attorneys have refused to consent to a proposed Oct. 17 trial date and are insisting on an Oct. 10 trial start, using the uncertainty over a trial date to delay other scheduling discussions.
Attorneys for Musk claimed that Twitter's proposed case schedule is “an obvious attempt to squeeze defendants” after a Delaware Chancery Court judge agreed last week to hold an expedited trial in a lawsuit filed by Twitter.
“Given the compressed timeframe, guidance from the court is necessary to break the impasse to allow things to move forward promptly,” attorney Edward Micheletti wrote in asking Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick to grant Musk's proposed case schedule.
“Defendants' efforts to make sure this case is trial-ready by October, have not been reciprocated by Twitter, who at every turn has sought to delay,” he added.
A spokesman for Twitter said the company had no comment on Tuesday's court filing.
Musk's attorneys also contend that Twitter has refused to provide them with raw data that it maintains in the ordinary course of business, which requires significant “machine time” and software development to be processed and analyzed by expert witnesses by a proposed Monday deadline.
Twitter shares were trading Tuesday afternoon at .24, well off a 52-week high of .92.
What went wrong with Elon Musk's Twitter deal?
Musk agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering .20 a share and vowing to loosen the company's policing of content and to root out fake accounts. As part of the deal, Musk and Twitter had agreed to pay each other a billion breakup fee if either was responsible for the deal collapsing.
Musk, the world's richest man, indicated earlier this month that he wants to back away from the deal, prompting Twitter to file a lawsuit to hold him to what it describes as a “seller-friendly” agreement.
Musk has claimed that Twitter has failed to provide him with enough information about the number of fake accounts on its service, but the company has estimated for the past several years that fewer than 5 per cent of mDAU are spam or fake accounts.
Twitter said last month that it was making a “fire hose” of raw data on hundreds of millions of daily tweets available to Musk.
Attorneys for Musk are asking McCormick to approve the Oct. 17 trial date and to order Twitter to immediately produce “core documents” and to produce all raw data by Monday.
Tuesday's court filing suggests that Musk plans to file his answer to Twitter's complaint later this week.
(With inputs from PTI)
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