Twitter lawyer calls Elon Musk ‘hired enemy’ as judge sets up October trial

A Delaware judge dealt a blow to Elon Musk on Tuesday, ruling that Twitter’s lawsuit to force the billionaire to honor his purchase agreement can go to a five-day trial in October.

Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, Chief Justice of the Delaware Chancery Court, agreed to Twitter’s request for an expedited trial date, pointing to the damage a prolonged legal fight would do to her business.

A delayed trial date requested by Musk “threatens irreparable harm to Sellers and Twitter,” McCormick said, according to The Washington Post.

Twitter sued Musk earlier this month after announcing he was pulling out of a deal to buy the company. Twitter demanded an expedited trial — an issue McCormick resolved on Tuesday.

Musk’s lawyers argued the trial should take place in February 2023 at the earliest due to the complexity of the case, saying they needed more time to further investigate Musk’s claim. Musk that Twitter was misrepresenting the number of spambots on the platform.

McCormick dismissed the argument, saying he “underestimates the ability of this court to deal with litigation quickly.”

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told The Associated Press that the decision is a win for Twitter “in terms of getting things done.”

The judge, Tobias added, “seemed very concerned about the argument that a delay would seriously harm the business, and I think that’s true.”

It was the first time both sides had appeared before a judge, setting the stage for a contentious trial. The hearing was held via Zoom, as McCormick had tested positive for COVID.

Twitter attorney William Savitt called Musk a “committed enemy” of the social media giant, according to CNN.

Musk’s defense attorney, Andrew Rossman, said the claim was “absurd”, noting that Musk is still the company’s second largest shareholder, with a “far larger stake” in Twitter than the entire world. board of directors, according to AP.

Rossman reiterated Musk’s concerns that Twitter is underestimating the number of spambots. The company has repeatedly stated that spam accounts represent less than 5% of monetizable daily active users.

“We have reason to believe, based on what we’ve seen so far, that the actual numbers are significantly higher, with huge implications for the long-term value of the business,” said Rossman, according to CNN.

Yet Musk’s deal to buy was never contingent on the number of spambots, and Twitter never promised Musk that the figure was less than 5%. Musk also gave up on his due diligence to get the deal done faster.

“Nothing in the merger agreement addresses this issue,” Savitt said. “There is no representation or warranty in the merger regarding the number of fake accounts there may be on Twitter.”

Although both sides appeared set for a courtroom showdown, Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk could still be resolved in a variety of ways, including a settlement.

Investors cheered Tuesday’s decision, sending Twitter shares up 5.4%, according to Bloomberg.


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