Billionaire Elon Musk has filed a counterclaim against Twitter after the social media company sued him in an attempt to force him to follow through with his $44 billion proposal to purchase the platform.
The counterclaims are an escalation in the legal battle as Twitter and Musk struggle to come out on top.
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The move was made public a day after Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen McCormick, the judge overseeing the lawsuit, set the trial start date for Oct. 17, 2022. The trial will be a five-day event.
McCormick ordered that Twitter answer the counterclaim by Aug. 4, 2022. The discovery phase of the lawsuit ends in the first half of September.
While it is currently unknown when the full counterclaim will be available, a redacted version will be out within the next week, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Musk’s legal team has built its argument on the number of bot accounts on the social media platform, information that they allege was made available to them only after the signing of the deal, but could “significantly impact” Twitter’s profitability.
“The core dispute over false and spam accounts is fundamental to Twitter’s value. It is also extremely fact and expert intensive, requiring substantial time for discovery,” Musk’s lawyers said in a July 15 filing requesting a February 2023 trial date, which was denied. They added that Twitter’s refusal to provide this information was what led Musk to attempt to walk away from the deal on July 8.
Musk’s lawyers assert that the platform’s monetizable daily active users metric is indicative of the proportion of bot accounts on the social media platform. Musk previously implied in a meme on Twitter that the metrics may lead to more insights into the proportion of bots on Twitter and, therefore, the platform’s profitability.
Meanwhile, Twitter has said that Musk has been trying to “sabotage” the social media company by asking for an “unreasonably elongated” schedule.
“Musk has been and remains contractually obligated to use his best efforts to close this deal,” William Savitt, the attorney representing Twitter, said during the hearing. They requested that the trial take place in September 2022.
“What he’s doing is the exact opposite; it’s sabotage,” Savitt said.
Judge McCormick, who presided over the hearing where these arguments were made, sided mostly with Twitter and ordered that a five-day trial take place in October 2022.
“The reality is that delay threatens irreparable harm to the sellers,” McCormick said in her ruling, referring to Twitter. “The longer the delay, the greater the risk.”