Home / Technology / News /  Elon Musk and Twitter set to argue over unresolved pretrial information requests

Lawyers for Elon Musk and Twitter Inc. are set to debate several pending requests for information in their continuing legal fight, with less than three weeks to go before a scheduled trial over Mr. Musk’s soured $44 billion takeover.

Among the issues set to be discussed are whether Mr. Musk’s team should have access to certain documents that Twitter has claimed are protected by attorney-client privilege and the proposed terms around allowing Mr. Musk to incorporate details about a Twitter whistleblower’s severance payment into his argument for terminating the deal.

Mr. Musk is also seeking more information about how Twitter counts fake and spam accounts, which he alleges are more prevalent on the platform than the company acknowledges. Twitter disputes Mr. Musk’s claims and says he is using his complaints as a pretext to try to get out of the deal after market conditions worsened.

Twitter already has handed over a “historical snapshot" of about 9,000 accounts tied to a quarterly audit, according to court filings. Mr. Musk’s team has asked for additional details about those accounts, including data regarding any suspensions.

The judge asked each side to be prepared to discuss unresolved requests remotely via Zoom on Tuesday.

Delaware Chancery Court Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick, the presiding judge, has kept the case on a fast track, scheduling a five-day nonjury trial starting Oct. 17. That gave both sides roughly three months to prepare for the case, and they have been jockeying for preliminary legal advantage by gathering documents and sworn testimony. Mr. Musk and Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal are among those expected to be deposed.

Mr. Musk’s team has pressed for a range of information from Twitter, including employee communications and granular data about spam and fake accounts. While the judge has granted some of Mr. Musk’s requests, she has denied others and once called his team’s data requests “absurdly broad."

Twitter has said it didn’t object to Mr. Musk including details of its settlement with whistleblower Peiter Zatko, its former head of security, but wants that conditioned upon Mr. Musk’s team producing additional documents. Twitter’s lawyers have asked whether Mr. Musk or his advisers had any knowledge of Mr. Zatko’s allegations before his whistleblower complaint was publicly revealed in late August.

Whistleblower Aid, a group that helped file the whistleblower claims, has said Mr. Zatko didn’t speak with Mr. Musk before making his complaint.

Mr. Zatko alleged that Twitter misled federal regulators and investors about security and privacy failures. Twitter has said Mr. Zatko’s claims are inaccurate and that he was fired in January for poor performance.

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