Elon Musk fights Twitter over release of potentially confidential information
Elon Musk’s bid to publish on Wednesday a counter-lawsuit he filed against Twitter last week was rejected by the judge overseeing the bombshell case late in the day.
Delaware Court of Chancery Judge Kathaleen McCormick ruled Musk’s counterclaims, answer and affirmative defenses to Twitter’s suit shall be made public by Friday afternoon, according to court filings.
The decision gave Twitter a win in the first of what will likely be many skirmishes after the social media site had argued that releasing the documents could expose “confidential” business information, The Post has learned.
The squabble centers around the 164-page countersuit that Musk filed against Twitter last Friday. The suit, which was filed under seal and has not yet been seen by the public, represents an escalation in the battle over the Tesla CEO’s abandoned $44 billion agreement to buy Twitter.
Companies are often allowed to redact material from legal documents that could reveal confidential information about their business — and Twitter argued that it needs more time to see “what information in [Musk’s] filings, if any, to designate as confidential.”
Musk’s legal team claimed Twitter is engaged in a stalling tactic to get ahead of the story in the press. They said in their counter-filing on Wednesday that Twitter is expected to file its response to Musk’s suit by Thursday — and that Twitter’s response to Musk’s countersuit could potentially be available to the public before Musk’s countersuit itself, unfairly giving the company a leg up in media coverage.
“Twitter should not be permitted to continue burying the side of the story it does not want publicly disclosed,” Musk’s lawyer Edward Micheletti wrote in a letter to McCormick.
Micheletti added that Twitter was trying to bend court rules to “get their response to Defendants’ side of the story to the public before Defendants’ story can be told.”
Musk’s side believes that Twitter should not request any redactions to the countersuit because none of its content “meets the standard for sealing,” according to emails between the two sides released as court exhibits on Wednesday.
Under court rules, Musk’s countersuit and Twitter’s response should be available to the public by Friday at the latest — potentially in redacted form.
Twitter shares closed up 0.1% at $41.00 on Wednesday.
The stock has rallied about 26% since the company sued Musk on an attempt to force him to honor his agreement to take over Twitter for $54.20 per share, indicating that are investors bullish on Twitter’s chances in the legal battle.
Ahead of the trial, which is set to open on Oct. 17, Musk and Twitter have both been sending out subpoenas in an attempt to gather evidence to bolster their cases.
Musk has subpoenaed Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, two banks that advised Twitter on Musk’s takeover bid, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.
Twitter, meanwhile, has subpoenaed several members of Musk’s Silicon Valley social circle, including elite tech investors Marc Andreessen, Chamath Palihapitiya, David Sacks, Steve Jurvetson, Jason Calacanis, Keith Rabois and Joe Lonsdale, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Lonsdale blasted Twitter’s subpoenas as a “giant harassing fishing expedition” in a tweet on Monday.
“I have nothing to do with this aside from a few snarky comments, but got a ‘YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED’ document notice,” Lonsdale griped.