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Twitter’s lawyers say Elon Musk wanted from the deal due to ‘World War 3,’ not bots

The whistleblower complaint from Twitters former head of security has already been complicating the companys legal struggle with Elon Musk. Lawyers representing Musk and Twitter met in court Tuesday for a hearing that may determine if the claims created by Pieter Mudge Zatko can be added to Elon Musks legal case to obtain out of his $44 billion commitment to get Twitter.

Notably, the hearing was among the first times any Twitter representative has publicly addressed Zatkos complaint. In both weeks since Zatko went public, Twitter has largely stayed silent on the substance of the claims.

Through the hearing, Twitters lawyers portrayed Zatko as a disgruntled employee, saying he had an enormous ax to grind with the business and he was not responsible for spam at Twitter. They accused him of structuring his whistleblower complaint, to tie it to the merger agreement. (Zatkos lawyers previously said he didnt go public to be able to benefit Musk.) Notably, Twitters lawyers didnt address claims that the companys lax security practices could have harmed national security or that CEO Parag Agrawal told Zatko to lie to the business board.

Twitters lawyers did claim that Musk wanted reasons to kill the offer before Zatkos complaint was public. At one point, Twitters lawyer quoted from the May 3rd text Musk delivered to his banker at Morgan Stanley:

Lets decelerate just a couple days it wont seem sensible to get Twitter if were headed into World War 3, Twitters lawyer read out loud, quoting Musk. That is why Mr. Musk didnt need it Twitter, these things concerning the bots, mDAU [monetizable daily active users] and Zatko is all pretext.

On the other hand, Musks lawyers touted Zatkos credentials as a decorated executive who had once been offered a posture as a US government official. They said Musk had nothing in connection with Zatkos whistleblower complaint and that Twitter had purposely hidden damaging information. Whether it’ll be enough to sway the judge in the event though, is unclear. In a single exchange the judge pointedly remarked on Musks decision to waive homework before agreeing to the acquisition.

Why didnt we discover this in diligence, Musks lawyer said, referencing Zatkos whistleblower complaint. They hid it, thats why. Well never know, right, the judge responded. As the diligence didnt happen.

Musks lawyers, pushing for the October trial to be delayed, closed out the a lot more than three-hour long hearing by arguing that its not us causing this chaos or this delay.

Nobody at Twitter is having all practical meetings today on the poop emoji from 8 weeks ago, he said, within an apparent and unprompted mention of a May 16th tweet from Musk fond of Agrawal. The reason why that they are having all-hands-on meetings today at Twitter is basically because a senior decorated executive said that the business was committing fraud. Thats our fault? Thats our chaos? Thats their chaos.

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