Elon Musk can bring a Twitter Inc. whistle-blower’s complaint about spam and bots on the social media platform into his defense against the company’s lawsuit to make him complete his $44 billion buyout, a judge ruled.
Musk’s legal team is permitted “incremental discovery relevant to the new allegations” raised by the whistle-blower, Delaware Chancery Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick said in a five-page ruling on Wednesday.
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But McCormick denied Musk’s request to delay a trial of the case set for next month.
“I am convinced that even four weeks’ delay would risk further harm to Twitter too great to justify,” she wrote, maintaining the Oct. 17 date.
McCormick had heard both sides’ arguments the day before.
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“We are hopeful that winning the motion to amend takes us one step closer to the truth coming out in the courtroom,” said Alex Spiro, Musk’s lead lawyer.
A Twitter representative didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment on the rulings.
The Tesla Inc. chief executive officer backed away from his planned purchase of Twitter, claiming the company hadn’t leveled with him about the number of spam and bot accounts among its more than 230 million users. Peiter Zaktko, a whistleblower and former head of security at Twitter, claimed that the company had ignored his concern about bot accounts and misled investors.
Lawyers for the billionaire cast Zatko’s accusations of shoddy operations as further violations of the buyout agreement.
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In Tuesday’s hearing, Twitter’s attorneys for the first time specifically disputed Zatko’s assertions that he raised such questions while at the company. They said addressing the bots issue wasn’t part of his “portfolio.”
Twitter v. Musk (22-0613), Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).
—With assistance from Molly Schuetz.
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