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July 29, 2022 12:37 PM, EDT

Musk-Twitter Trial to Start Oct. 17

Tesla CEO Elon MuskTesla CEO Elon Musk by Samuel Corum/Bloomberg News

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Twitter Inc.’s lawsuit against Tesla CEO Elon Musk over a canceled $44 billion buyout of the social media platform is set for a five-day trial starting Oct. 17 in Delaware, a judge ruled.

The decision late July 28 by Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick comes after Musk’s lawyers claimed Twitter wanted an Oct. 10 start date “without justification.” Twitter said it wasn’t opposed to Oct. 17 as long as it was assured of a full five-day trial.

McCormick agreed earlier this month to fast-track the trial over Musk’s failed deal to acquire Twitter for $54.20 a share, which he nixed over claims that usage statistics for the social media platform are inflated by spam and robot accounts.

Twitter claimed Musk, the world’s richest person, was dragging his feet on setting the schedule and lobbed a letter onto the court docket without sharing it with his opponents. McCormick, in her eight-page order, warned both sides that any pre-trial information exchanges “should not be requested or withheld in an effort to inflict unreasonable demands on or extract unreasonable benefits from the opposing party.”

Twitter’s lawyers say they’ll need only four days to prove Musk is misusing questions about spam and robot accounts as a pretext to walk away from the deal. The company said it had turned over all its information about those accounts and it is seeking to force the billionaire, who co-founded Tesla Inc., to consummate the acquisition.

Musk counters in court filings Twitter’s handover of the so-called bots material hasn’t been robust and that the company’s mishandling of that data provides a legitimate basis for his cancellation of the buyout.

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