The battle between Elon Musk and Twitter is heating up once more, well before the highly anticipated trial is scheduled to begin. The latest maneuver comes from Musk, who’s legal team issued a subpoena to former Twitter executive Peiter Zatko.
Zatko made international headlines for his whistleblower complaint to U.S. officials last week, claiming the social media company has misled regulators about how many fake or spam accounts it is able to detect.
Musk’s central argument for walking away from the $44 billion deal is that Twitter has not been truthful and underreports the number of bots signed up on the service.
Zatko alleges Twitter does not know the true number of bots, and doesn’t have the resources, or the inclination, to know the true number.
Perhaps more importantly, Zatko also claimed Twitter has virtually no privacy and security regulations, allowing thousands of employees access to many of its critical controls, which if in the wrong hands could be used to manipulate content on the platform.
Zatko was fired from Twitter earlier this year from his role as the company’s head of security for what was labelled as poor performance. According to a statement from his lawyers, he will abide by the subpoena and appear for a deposition.
The trial between Musk and Twitter is scheduled to begin on October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court. Ahead of the trial, Musk has sold nearly $7 billion in Tesla (TSLA) shares in case the pending deal is forced to close, and in case some of his private equity partners in the deal fail to follow through and provide their previously committed funds.
Musk has pledged to rebuy those Tesla (TSLA) shares if he is successful in court and is able to walk away from the deal.