Elon Musk scores a rare win in Twitter acquisition lawsuit as the company is ordered to hand over documents from fired general manager
Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala. Andrew Kelly/Reuters
Musk's lawyers last week demanded the release of documents from 22 Twitter employees.
The judge in charge ordered documents from only one employee, Kayvon Beykpour.
Musk is now seeking more information on dates through an additional request, which will be submitted confidentially.
Elon Musk will get some of the additional information he requested from Twitter in its lawsuit against him, and he's trying to do more, Insider has learned.
Judge Kathleen St. Jude McCormick Monday ordered Twitter to partially comply with a foreclosure motion filed by Musk's attorneys. They solicited documents from 22 other Twitter employees who they said had information about the company's process for analyzing spam or "bot" accounts. Twitter is already handing over information from around 41 so-called “custodians” of information as part of the case.
Musk's request to compel the additional filing was filed confidentially last week, meaning it does not appear on the court record. Neither do his counterclaims, which accuse Twitter of a fraudulent "scheme" around its user counts and metrics. Judge McCormick's order was made available on the record.
Musk's attorneys also filed another confidential foreclosure motion this week, a person familiar with the case said. Musk now wants to force Twitter to release more information about its user data and how it is collected and analyzed. Musk has been claiming for months that Twitter refused to release all the requested data information. Judge McCormick is expected to rule on that new request this week.
Meanwhile, Twitter is now "required to collect, review and prepare documents" from Kayvon Beykpour, the platform's former general manager for consumers, according to the judge's brief order. Beykpour joined Twitter in 2018 under then-CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey's successor, Parag Agrawal, fired Beykpour in May along with a number of other executives. Beykpour wrote on Twitter that it was not his decision to leave the company.
While Musk's attorneys pressed for documents from many additional Twitter employees, Judge McCormick only relented to Beykpour. In his position, which ran Twitter's consumer products page for several years, Beykpour likely has insight and documentation related to the bot analytics Musk is looking for. Musk's attorneys were also seeking information from other employees ranging from middle management to lower levels, said a person familiar with the situation.
Judge McCormick's decision gives Musk a rare victory in the lawsuit Twitter filed last month to force the billionaire to honor its agreement to acquire the platform for $44 billion. In the first hearing between the two sides, Judge McCormick sided with Twitter by agreeing his case against Musk could go to trial by October.
For his part, Musk seems to have taken a less aggressive stance on Twitter lately. At least publicly. He hasn't tweeted about the company or the case in almost two weeks. Last week he sold nearly $7 billion worth of Tesla stock and said it's been an effort to be prepared if he's ultimately ordered to take over Twitter.
Twitter's stock has rallied of late, up 16% over the past month and getting closer to the $54.20 per share at which Musk originally agreed to acquire the company. Such a recovery is likely to complicate any attempt by Musk to argue that the company simply isn't worth what he was willing to pay. People close to the deal previously told Insider Musk that the sudden obsession with bots was a deal breaker to simply get the company for less money as the stock market took a turn, significantly hurting his personal fortune.
Musk's wealth is mostly tied up in Tesla stock, which has also been rising in recent weeks. After slumping to a yearly low in June, shares of Tesla are now just under $928, just 24% off their all-time high.
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