The trial will begin in October — which means both parties have a couple months to dig up evidence.
Twitter and Elon Musk are going to court, and it sure seems like things are going to get real messy real quick. The lawsuit, which will determine whether Musk has to spend $44 billion to purchase a company he is no longer interested in owning, started Tuesday with a win for Twitter. But before the two parties even got in front of the Delaware Chancery Court, Twitter submitted a filing asking for a quick trial — while Musk wanted to delay the proceedings.
In case you need to get up to speed on what is happening: Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, decided to buy Twitter on a lark for $54.20 per share, which has the weed number in it. That’s the whole joke. Anyway, Twitter agreed to the deal for real and had Musk sign his name to a contract that made the joke legally binding. Then the market tanked and the joke was on Musk, and now he’s trying to get out of the agreement and save himself $44 billion.
So now the parties are in court in Delaware, because that’s where businesses incorporate themselves to dodge taxes.
Last week, in the lead-up to the trial’s first hearing, Musk’s lawyers asked for lots of discovery time to go digging for any information they can find in Twitter’s internal documents. “The core dispute over false and spam accounts is fundamental to Twitter’s value,” Musk’s lawyers wrote in a legal filing, according to The Washington Post. “It is also extremely fact- and expert-intensive, requiring substantial time for discovery.” Twitter disagrees and thinks this thing should go fast, in part because they would really like this money and in part because they’d really rather not have a vindictive Musk rifling through their emails and filing cabinets.
Musk has claimed that the reason he shouldn’t have to purchase Twitter is because the company lied about how many bots it has on its platform — a thing that he was extremely aware of before signing the contract, and which he even said that he was buying the company to address and would “die trying” to fix. He’s already demanded all sorts of documents from the company over the last few months to try to prove the bot issue is worse than Twitter has publicly claimed, and odds are good that he’ll go spelunking for even more during the discovery period of this trial.
In fact, Musk will probably look for anything he can to drag Twitter’s reputation through the mud. At this point, the billionaire seems content to try to destroy as much of Twitter’s public value as possible — potentially negotiating a much cheaper buying price later, but probably just because he’s a petty manbaby. Surely lots of it won’t be able to come out in court, but Musk will probably weaponize any juicy bits by tweeting about it any chance he gets.
Twitter got its wishes, for the most part, and now the full trial is set to take place over five days in October.
None of this is good, mind you. It’s funny watching a billionaire potentially get forced by a court order to liquidate shares of his own company to purchase a thing he doesn’t want, and it’s funny to see Twitter squirm at the prospect of having to pop the hood and show how things work. But it’s also not great that a wildly unserious rich dude can basically hold corporations and the legal system hostage with a joke. That part sucks, but we might as well enjoy the show in the mean time.