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Musk urges Delaware Chancery Court not to rush Twitter lawsuit trial

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Elon Musk responded formally on Friday to Twitter’s lawsuit against him, saying the court should reject Twitter’s request for a short trial in the next two months and arguing the case will be more complicated and technical than Twitter makes it out to be.

Twitter sued Musk on Tuesday to force him to complete his acquisition of the company after he said last week that he was terminating the deal. Musk has argued he has a right to leave the deal because the company didn’t give him enough information to figure out if its estimates about the number of spam bots on the platform are accurate. A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment.

Musk’s court filing accuses Twitter of dragging its feet on giving him the data he wanted on bots and then asking for “warp speed” when it came to setting a trial date. Twitter argued in its lawsuit that Musk has been acting in bad faith and every day that the uncertainty around the acquisition hangs over them, the more damage is done to the company. The tone of Musk’s response is similarly fiery, offering a preview of the heated legal wrangling that is to come. The billionaire had already tweeted about Twitter’s lawsuit, responding on Wednesday to a tweet about how it was ironic that the company’s management was accusing Musk of acting in bad faith but still wanted him to own the company with two laughing emoji.

Twitter retained Wachtell, Lipton Rosen & Katz intending to sue Elon Musk after the Tesla founder announced plans to drop a $44 billion takeover deal on July 8. (Video: Reuters)

Twitter’s position is that the case is straightforward: Musk agreed to buy it, and now he’s backing out of his commitments after his financial position weakened as part of a global sell-off in tech stocks. Musk asserts that the case should revolve around Twitter’s statements about how many bots it thinks are on its platform, which he believes are incorrect, though he hasn’t provided evidence of that claim.

“The core dispute over false and spam accounts is fundamental to Twitter’s value,” Musk’s lawyers wrote in the filing. “It is also extremely fact and expert intensive, requiring substantial time for discovery.”

Musk’s filing details a May 6 meeting he had with Twitter’s chief executive officer and chief financial officer where they discussed how the company calculates its estimates for how many bots on the platform. The process, which Musk says is based on human reviewers looking at a small percentage of accounts, was much less rigorous than he had expected, the filing says.

Twitter is suing Elon Musk to force him to buy the tech giant. Silicon Valley correspondent Elizabeth Dwoskin explains how the legal drama has unfolded. (Video: Casey Silvestri/The Washington Post)

“Musk was stunned to discover that Twitter’s process for identifying spam accounts relied on human reviewers,” according to the filing. “Musk quickly understood that management did not have a handle on the bot and spam issue.”

That’s when Musk began sending more requests for user data so that he could run his own analysis, but Twitter was slow in giving him that data and he ultimately concluded he would not get everything he needed to run his analysis, leading him to say he was terminating the deal.

In its complaint, Twitter alleges Musk wasn’t actually that interested in understanding the bot issue and instead sent escalating requests to construct a pretext that the company wasn’t giving him the data he needed.

Why Elon Musk can’t get out of Twitter deal even if his lenders bail

Twitter’s per-share price rose 4 percent Friday to $37.74. That’s still significantly below the $54.20 Musk had initially agreed to pay, showing the Wall Street doesn’t believe the deal will close according to the original agreement.

The court will hold a hearing Tuesday to address Twitter’s request for an expedited trial.



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