While lawyers for Elon Musk and Twitter argue over whether a whistleblower’s claims can be added to the former’s lawsuit, the company claims Musk withdrew from the acquisition due to concerns about the start of World War 3.
Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter Zatko, also known as “Mudge,” claimed last week that his former employer lied about its security protocols and used fake accounts. Unsurprisingly, Musk’s legal team moved quickly to summon Zatko to testify in the upcoming trial in which the billionaire will attempt to avoid paying a $1 billion termination fee.
Musk’s lawyer has now asked the judge to postpone the trial for several weeks so that Zatko’s claims can be investigated. “Doesn’t justice require a few weeks to investigate this?” Alex Spiro asked at a Delaware hearing.
In its first public response to Zatko’s allegations, Twitter called them “false narratives,” adding that the former employee has a “huge axe to grind” against the company and was not in charge of spam during his time there.
Zatko’s lawyers claim he never chose to go public with his accusations now in order to benefit Musk, but Twitter disagrees. According to company lawyers, Musk is using the allegations, similar to the spam account argument, to get out of a deal he agreed to without first conducting due diligence.
Twitter’s lawyers also cited a text message Musk sent to his Morgan Stanley banker on May 3 that said, “Let’s slow down just a few days […] it won’t make sense to buy Twitter if we’re on the verge of World War 3.”
“This is why Mr. Musk didn’t want to buy Twitter; this stuff about bots, mDAU [monetizable daily active users], and Zatko is all a ruse,” said Twitter’s William Savitt. He stated that if the judge allows Zatko’s testimony to be added, the five-day trial should still take place on October 17.
Twitter, according to Zatko, violated its 2011 settlement with the FTC by failing to maintain a comprehensive security plan. He also claimed that senior executives deceived and/or misled board members, users, and shareholders and that CEO Parag Agrawal asked him to provide false and misleading documents.
Twitter wants Musk to buy the company at the previously agreed-upon price of $54.20 per share. Its current share price is $38.65.