Elon Musk’s lawyers today filed a motion to delay his trial against Twitter by a month, arguing they need more time to process recent claims by whistleblower Peiter Zatko, the former head of security at Twitter. With the motion, Musk’s legal team is attempting to amend its counterclaims against Twitter, using details from Zatko’s legal complaints against the company. The trial between Musk and Twitter is currently scheduled to begin in October, and the motion filed today would delay it into November.
This is the same tactic that Musk is using to try to end his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter altogether. Twitter originally sued Musk in July in an attempt to force him to follow through on their multibillion-dollar acquisition agreement, and Musk counter-sued, attempting to get out of the sale. Musk’s legal team this morning filed a notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission asking to kill the acquisition agreement, citing Zatko’s recent allegations of security deficiencies at Twitter. Zatko’s claims build on Musk’s original argument to end his Twitter takeover, which accused the company of dramatically underestimating the number of bot accounts on the network.
Zatko filed complaints last week with the SEC, Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission accusing Twitter of gross negligence when it comes to information security. Zatko accused the company of encouraging the propagation of spam accounts in the name of increasing user numbers, downplaying the amount of bot profiles on the platform, and running the whole enterprise on outdated software. There is already movement in Congress to investigate these claims.
Twitter said in court filings that Zatko’s accusations are riddled with inconsistencies and lack context. The company has long argued that spam accounts make up less than 5 percent of Twitter’s total user numbers. Musk, and now Zatko, argue the true figure is much higher.