(Bloomberg) — A judge has slammed Elon Musk for failing to properly turn over text messages that could prove Twitter Inc.’s lawsuit. which is seeking to force the billionaire to complete his proposed $44 billion takeover of the social networking platform.
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Delaware Chancery Judge Kathaleen St. to withdraw from it. He ordered the men to hand over the phone records for their texts.
“Third parties produced text messages with Musk that Musk himself did not produce,” he said. Some of the exchanges it produced also had glaring gaps. However, he noted that Musk’s legal team moved to clear up many of the problems Twitter complained about in pre-trial exchanges.
Alex Spiro, Musk’s lead attorney, declined to comment on McCormick’s decision about the texts. Twitter representatives did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
McCormick noted that Musk produced two texts sent to him by Perella Weinberg’s Robert Steel 18 minutes apart on June 17. Steel first asked a question and then texted him, “Ok. Got it…” The second text clearly showed that Musk responded to the first, the judge said, but the response was not broadcast on Twitter.
“Assuming that Musk’s response was not telepathic, one would expect some evidence of it in the defendants’ production of documents,” McCormick wrote. “But the defendants did not provide any within the deadline.”
The judge also said that most of the burden of gathering and delivering information on the case has so far fallen on Twitter. But the company’s request for all of Musk and Birchall’s texts – regardless of their relevance – was “too extreme to accept”.
Earlier Wednesday, McCormick ruled that Musk’s lawyers could amend counterclaims filed in the Twitter case to allege complaints from a former company executive that the billionaire claims bolster his reasons for walking away from the deal. But the judge also denied Musk’s request to postpone an Oct. 17 trial in the case.
Shares of Twitter rose 6.3% to $41.09 on Wednesday in New York.
Read more: Musk May Use Twitter Whistle-blower Claims in Takeover Race
Meanwhile, Musk and Twitter are debating whether the company should hand over Slack messages posted by Twitter employees about Musk’s exit from the deal. Musk’s legal team accuses Twitter of reneging on promises to hand over Slack communications.
While Twitter has agreed to hand over Slack communications from officials such as CEO Parag Agrawal and Manish Chabria — the platform’s head of financial analysis and planning — it has refused to hand over others, arguing that the task of reviewing them is overwhelming. Musk’s lawyers complained.
McCormick heard arguments on the Slack issue at a hearing Tuesday, but has yet to rule on it.
The case is Twitter v. Musk, 22-0613, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington)
(Updates detailing the race for Slack messages starting in the ninth paragraph.)
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