Twitter dismisses Elon Musk’s bot complaints as ‘irrelevant sideshow’

Twitter Inc. dismissed Elon Musk’s complaints that he didn’t have enough information about spam and bot accounts as an “inconsequential sideshow” and urged a judge to hold an early trial over his cancellation of a $44 billion buyout of the company.

“The earliest possible trial date is imperative,” Twitter’s lawyers wrote Monday in a nine-page response to Musk’s request for a delay. “This very public dispute hurts Twitter every day.”

Musk, the world’s richest man, backed out of buying the platform on July 8, accusing the company of breaching a contract by providing information to assess how widespread bots are on the social media platform. He says a forensic examination will take months to complete and has asked for a February trial.

Musk was fully aware of the bot problem when he signed the deal to buy the company, Twitter’s lawyers said in a filing on Monday.

“Musk is using his consent rights to limit the company’s operations, and the excess of his violation threatens Twitter’s relationships with employees and customers,” the filing said. “Millions of Twitter shares trade daily under a cloud of doubt created by Musk. No public company of this size and scale has ever had to endure these uncertainties.”

Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick, who is set to judge the case, said Tuesday’s hearing in Delaware on Twitter’s request to fast-track the case will be held on Zoom instead of in person because she has Covid. She added that her symptoms were not severe.

Twitter filed a lawsuit last week to force Musk to complete the deal, asking for a non-jury trial to begin on September 19. Lawyers for San Francisco-based Twitter said they needed just four days to prove that Musk should honor his contract to pay $54.20 per share for the social media platform. Shares of Twitter rose 67 cents to $38.41 on Monday.

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