The judge in the lawsuit between Twitter and billionaire Elon Musk ruled Wednesday the trial will continue as scheduled Oct. 17 despite Musk's letter to Twitter on Monday saying he will complete the original $44 billion buyout of the social media platform.
"The parties have not filed a stipulation to stay this action, nor has any party moved for a stay," Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick wrote in a ruling letter to both parties Wednesday. "I, therefore, continue to press on toward our trial set to begin on Oct. 17, 2022."
Twitter sued Musk when he tried to back out on his offer to purchase the social media platform in April, claiming Twitter misrepresented key issues in the deal including the number of false "bot" accounts, which are useless to advertisers, the Associated Press reported.
In an unexpected turnaround, Musk's attorneys sent the company a letter Monday advising that Musk is prepared to close the deal with its original terms.
"We write to notify you that the Musk Parties intend to proceed to closing of the transaction contemplated by the April 25, 2022 Merger Agreement, on the terms and subject to the conditions set forth therein and pending receipt of the proceeds of the debt financing contemplated thereby, provided that the Delaware Chancery Court enter an immediate stay of the action, Twitter vs. Musk, et al. (C.A. No. 202-0613-KSJM) (the "Action") and adjourn the trial and all other proceedings related thereto pending such closing or further order of the Court," Musk attorney Mike Ringler wrote to Twitter Oct. 3.
"The Musk Parties provide this notice without admission of liability and without waiver of or prejudice to any of their rights, including their right to assert the defenses and counterclaims pending in the Action, including in the event the Action is not stayed, Twitter fails or refuses to comply with its obligations under the April 25, 2022, Merger Agreement or if the transaction contemplated thereby otherwise fails to close."
McCormick's ruling also stated she is considering taking sanctions against Musk for destroying certain encrypted text messages and electronic communications relevant to the lawsuit that were to be turned over to the court.
"If defendants deleted documents after they were under a duty to preserve, some remedy is appropriate, but the appropriate remedy is unclear to me at this stage," St. Jude McCormick's ruling said. "I will reserve my ruling regarding [Twitter's] request for sanctions, including adverse inferences, pending post-trial briefing, when I have a fuller understanding of the record."
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