Fear of Secret Chats, Emails Being out behind Musk's Turnaround on Twitter?
IANS 06 October 2022
With the judge in the Twitter-Elon Musk case declaring that the micro-blogging platform could hunt for Mr Musk's secret chats with whistle-blower Peiter 'Mudge' Zatko, the Tesla CEO (chief executive officer) may have decided to make a turnaround and announce to go ahead with the US$44bn (billion) takeover deal he earlier terminated.
 
In a fresh court filing, judge Kathaleen McCormick at the Delaware Court of Chancery in the US has rejected Musk's legal team's argument that Mr Zatko's denial makes additional discovery irrelevant.
 
Mr Zatko, Twitter's former head of security, has said he did not contact Musk or his team but Twitter wants to know more, especially about a mysterious email from May 6 that turned up in the files of Quinn Emanuel, a legal firm that represents Mr Musk.
 
In the email, the sender suggests that Musk's team get in touch with Zatko on another platform (through 'alternate secure means') in order for them to provide information about Twitter.
 
"Plaintiff argues that its broader proposal is necessary to investigate an unusual May 6 email produced from the files of Quinn Emanuel. The email was sent from an anonymous account hosted by protonmail.com (a popular encrypted email provider) to Quinn Emanuel attorney Alex Spiro and purports to be from 'a former Exec at Twitter leading teams directly involving Trust & Safety/Content Moderation'," read the judge's filing.
 
The author of the email offered Musk information on Twitter and suggests communicating "via alternate secure means".
 
The judge said that Mr Zatko's testimony, while sworn, is not susceptible to a credibility assessment at this stage and is therefore not dispositive.
 
"Moreover, Defendants' statements concerning the 6th May email raise more questions. The timing and the contents of the 6th May email render it at least plausible that Zatko was the author," said judge McCormick.
 
In its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Musk's legal team has also asked the court to adjourn the trial and all other proceedings.
 
The team said the Delaware Chancery Court should "adjourn the trial and all other proceedings related thereto pending such closing or further order of the court."
 
Recently, a new treasure trove of texts exchanged between Musk and Agrawal was leaked in the public domain.
 
Mr Agrawal told Mr Musk that he is free to tweet 'is Twitter dying?' or anything else about Twitter "but it's my responsibility to tell you that it's not helping me make Twitter better in the current context."
 
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