Elon Musk and Twitter search for evidence as trial nears

Twitter, which sued Musk to force him into the $44 billion takeover deal, is looking for evidence or testimony to prove it is making excuses to walk away because he changed his mind.

A Twitter attorney told the judge it was difficult to get documents from the data scientists Musk used to estimate the proportion of fake accounts on the social network, and what they eventually got did not confirm his charge that it was well over five percent.

Attorney Brad Wilson claimed that Twitter encountered a “pattern of delay and obfuscation” when it came to what Musk learned from data scientists he studied about Twitter data.

Musk’s attorneys, in turn, urged the judge to get Twitter to deliver more messages or other material, particularly regarding “monetizable daily active users” and “user active minutes.”

The hearing took place during a discovery phase in which rival parties search for documents, emails, depositions and more to back up their positions.

The long list of people called to provide documents or answer questions in the case includes Twitter co-founder and former chief Jack Dorsey.

Tesla chief Musk will be sworn in over two days next week in sessions to be recorded by “stenographic, audio and visual means,” according to a filing.

Musk’s deposition is expected to take place in private at law firms before a five-day trial scheduled to begin Oct. 17 in the Delaware State Court of Chancery.

Musk, the world’s richest man, said in a letter in April that he was canceling the deal because he had been misled by Twitter about the number of bot accounts on his platform, claims dismissed by the company.

He then added the accusations made in a whistleblower complaint by a former Twitter security chief to his reasons for walking away from the deal.

Twitter stood by its user count assessment and portrayed the whistleblower as a “disgruntled former employee” whose allegations are baseless.

“There are a range of possibilities that can come from the Delaware court, including settlement, severance fees paid, agreement enforced and a myriad of other outcomes,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said of of the trial.

“We also continue to believe there is a possibility behind the scenes that both parties are looking to attempt negotiations before heading to court in a few weeks.”