Attorneys for the Tesla co-founder—who is being sued for backing out of a $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform—faced off against Twitter's legal team during a Sept. 6 hearing in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Both sides made oral arguments in front of a judge and presented several key findings into their respective cases, including text messages Musk allegedly sent after announcing his plans to purchase the communications company.
Before the hearing, Musk and his attorneys requested that Twitter's trial be pushed back until November, claiming it had become "blindingly obvious" that the "current schedule no longer works." He also sought to amend his sealed countersuit against Twitter in light of recent allegations over the company's cybersecurity practices.
From Musk's "World War III" concerns to his legal team's "suboptimal" efforts, here are the biggest bombshells from the hearing.
Elon Musk Accused of Delaying Discovery Process in Trial
Twitter attorneys accused the SpaceX CEO and his lawyers of attempting to purposefully delay the discovery process in order to postpone the trial. They claimed Musk's legal team are using "gotcha style" tactics by dropping "unreasonable" and last-minute requests for information in hopes that Twitter will not be able to make deadline.
According to Twitter attorneys, some of the requests include three years worth of documents and over 200,000 pages of Slack messages. As a result, the company said it has moved dozens of data scientists off their current projects in order to focus on this particular case.
Twitter's legal team also said that Musk's attorneys have been uncooperative and refused to engage with them in a prompt manner, causing delays in the company's attempts to subpoena certain individuals.
Judge Chides Elon Musk's Legal Team for "Suboptimal" Efforts
During the hearing, Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, the head judge of the Delaware Court of Chancery, called out Musk's attorneys for not getting to documents she had requested in time. "I ordered you to do the job," McCormick said, per Insider. "You had two custodians. Have you heard the saying: 'You had one job?'"
Calling their response time "suboptimal," she added, "You could have been diligent in your efforts far sooner."
Elon Musk Cited "World War III" Concerns in Texts About Twitter Deal
In text messages read aloud in court, Musk expressed concerns to his banker about how the geopolitical climate, particularly the invasion of Ukraine, could play a part in the deal. "Let's slow down just a few days. Putin's speech tomorrow is really important," the May 8 text read, according to the New York Times. "It won't make sense to buy Twitter if we're heading into World War III."
Twitter attorneys argued during the hearing that the texts show how Musk was backing down from the deal for more personal reasons, rather than his initial defense—which was outlined in a letter penned by his lawyer to Twitter's board on July 8—that the billionaire mogul was not moving forward with the deal because "Twitter has not complied with its contractual obligations."
Elon Musk's Request to Postpone Trial Denied
After hearing arguments from both sides, the head judge rejected Musk's motion to have the trial moved to November, citing in court documents obtained by E! News that "the longer the delay until trial, the greater the risk of irreparable harm to Twitter."
"Indeed, Twitter has represented that the anticipated risk of harm has materialized over the course of this litigation," the head judge wrote in her decision. "I am convinced that even four weeks' delay would risk further harm to Twitter too great to justify."
The trial is scheduled to start on Oct. 17.
Elon Musk Allowed to Amend His Countersuit Against Twitter
While the trial date remains, Musk was granted the right to amend his countersuit to include allegations of negligence pertaining to the company's cybersecurity that had been recently made public by a former Twitter employee. In court documents, Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick wrote that the allegations "would be grounds in most instances to permit an amendment," though she did declined to provide further details into her decision.
"I am reticent to say more concerning the merits of the counterclaims at this posture before they have been fully litigated," McCormick wrote. "The world will have to wait for the post-trial decision."