A trial over Elon Musk’s bid to end his $44 billion deal for Twitter should be delayed by several weeks to allow him to investigate a whistleblower’s claims about the social media platform’s security, Musk’s lawyer told a judge on Tuesday.
“Doesn’t justice take a few weeks to consider this?” Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said at a hearing in Wilmington, Delaware.
Last month, whistleblower allegations became public that gave Musk, the world’s richest man, new ammunition to bolster what legal experts said was a long-running effort to get out of the deal without paying a fee. $1 billion completion.
Twitter’s former security chief Peiter Zatko, a hacker known as “Mudge,” said in a complaint to regulators that the company falsely represented it had a strong data security plan.
Twitter has dismissed Zatko’s allegations as a “false narrative,” and his lawyer accused the billionaire on Tuesday of using the whistleblower’s allegations to cover up the fact that he allegedly rushed to buy the company without assessing the risks.
“Musk is blaming Twitter for his failure to exercise ordinary care,” said William Savitt, a lawyer for Twitter. He asked the judge to prevent Musk from adding whistleblower allegations to his lawsuit, but said that if allowed to do so, the five-day trial should begin on Oct. 17 as scheduled.
Savitt read an early May message from Musk to a banker that appeared in the lawsuit in which the billionaire wrote: “It won’t make sense to buy Twitter if we’re going into World War III.” Savitt said it was evidence that Musk is looking for a way out of the deal, and his initial claims about bots and fake accounts were just a pretext to end the deal.
Twitter and Musk have sued each other. The company wants Delaware chancellor court chancellor Kathaleen McCormick to order Musk to buy the company for the $54.20 per share he agreed to in April.
Shares of Twitter ended Tuesday trading at $38.65 a share, slightly higher.
McCormick ended Tuesday’s hearing without saying when he would rule.
Musk, who is also the chief executive of electric car company Tesla, initially blasted Twitter for misleading him about the amount of fake or bot accounts on the platform, which he said allowed him to walk away from the deal.