Subpoenas Fly with Tech Elite Drawn into Musk-Twitter Battle

More than 100 subpoenas have reportedly been issued in the legal battle between Elon Musk and Twitter, creating a full employment act for lawyers recruited to represent Silicon Valley’s elite. In addition to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, those summoned to speak include investor Marc Andreessen, Oracle executive chair Larry Ellison, tech investors David O. Sacks and Joe Lonsdale, and former Twitter security head Peiter Zatko. The matter is set to be heard in Delaware Chancery Court starting October 17. “Every firm in the Valley is salivating like dogs trying to get in on that action,” said University of San Francisco professor of legal ethics Carol Langford.

“The torrent of legal demands in the case has forced a who’s who of Silicon Valley to lawyer up, creating a heyday for top-tier law firms,” writes The New York Times.

Because the trial is on such a tight timeline, legal preparation that would normally take at least a year is compressed into three months, resulting in what sounds like a madcap spending spree and shotgun subpoenas as opposed to carefully targeted requests. Improbably, the scorched-earth campaign has even resulted in lawyers subpoenaing each other, according to the article by NYT tech reporter Kate Conger.

The subpoena credit roll ranges from “big-name banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley), high-profile investors (Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia), well-known advisers, prominent companies that employ Twitter’s board members (Salesforce, Mastercard) and members of Musk’s entourage,” per NYT.

Twitter leads the tally, accounting for more than 80 subpoenas. The social platform aims to find  documentation that Musk, who in April enthusiastically presented an offer to purchase Twitter for $44 billion, “soured on the acquisition because the economic downturn decreased his personal wealth,” as NYT puts it.

For his part, Musk is trying to leverage recent allegations made by Twitter whistleblower Zatko into a pass to back out of the deal. On Monday, Musk’s legal team sent Twitter a second deal termination letter (following Musk’s initial notification July 8).

Axios notes that “the whistleblower complaint doesn’t technically support Musk’s original argument that Twitter violated its deal terms by misleading investors about the number of spam accounts on its platform and stonewalling information requests. Rather, it alleges Twitter deceived regulators about its efforts to reduce spam and protect Twitter from security threats.”

Elon Musk Cites Whistle-Blower Report as Reason to Scrap Twitter Deal, The New York Times, 8/30/22
The Security Flaws That Make Twitter’s Insider Threat So Scary, The Verge, 8/30/22
Elon Musk Sends Second Letter Terminating Twitter Acquisition, Yahoo Finance, 8/30/22

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