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- Twitter filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Elon Musk after he backed out of their acquisition deal.
- In a court filing Friday, Musk accused the company of trying to rush the trial.
- The filing said the case depends on verifying Twitter’s claims about bots, which would take time.
Elon Musk formally responded to Twitter’s lawsuit on Friday in a heated court filing that accuses the social media company of trying to rush its lawsuit against him after months of not handing over user data he requested.
Twitter filed a lawsuit against Musk on Tuesday after the Tesla billionaire backed out on their $44 billion acquisition agreement. The lawsuit seeks to force Musk to go through with the deal and buy Twitter, arguing the agreement he signed was “binding” and that he’s only now backing out “because it no longer serves his personal interests.”
In the letter announcing he was terminating his offer to buy Twitter, Musk argued that the company failed to comply with its “contractual obligations.”
“For nearly two months, Mr. Musk has sought the data and information necessary to ‘make an independent assessment of the prevalence of fake or spam accounts on Twitter’s platform,'” the letter said.
Those complaints were echoed in the court filing on Friday, which argued the court should reject Twitter’s request for a speedy trial in the coming months, claiming the case was more complicated than the company has framed it and would need more time.
“Twitter’s sudden request for warp speed after two months of foot-dragging and obfuscation is its latest tactic to shroud the truth about spam accounts long enough to railroad Defendants into closing,” said the filing, which was obtained by The Washington Post.
“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,” the filing continued.
It also said that in a meeting with Twitter executives in May, “Musk was flabbergasted to learn just how meager Twitter’s process was” for estimating its spam accounts. At the time, Musk tweeted about their process, which he said involves a random sample of only 100 accounts per day. “That’s it. No automation, no AI, no machine learning,” the filing said.
Musk’s concern over spam and bot accounts on Twitter has threatened the acquisition for months. After initial resistance from Twitter, the company accepted Musk’s offer to buy it in late April. Weeks later, Musk said the deal was “on hold” while he looked into Twitter’s claim that spam or bots make up less than 5% of its user accounts.
In June, lawyers for Musk filed a complaint with the SEC accusing Twitter of “actively resisting and thwarting his information rights” by not providing him with the data he wanted and threatening to torpedo the deal. On July 8, lawyers for Musk sent the letter to the SEC announcing he was backing out.
Twitter has consistently said it plans to enforce the merger agreement. In its lawsuit filed against Musk on July 12, the company said he was “refusing to honor his obligations” and that his accusations about them providing misleading data on bots “lack any merit.”
The lawsuit also said Musk’s “antics” and the “disdain he has shown” for Twitter put the business at risk and threatened its stock.
Musk appeared to respond to the lawsuit in a brief tweet that was sent shortly after it was filed, writing: “Oh the irony lol.”
The filing on Friday marked the first formal response filed on behalf of Musk. It requests that the trial date be set on or after February 13, 2023, to allow for time to evaluate Twitter’s claims about the amount of bots on the platform.
Twitter and lawyers for Musk did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.