(Reuters) -Elon Musk sought to delay the Twitter Inc trial by about a month to November, according to a court filing, as a whistleblower provided the world’s richest person with fresh ammunition to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy the social media company.
Musk on Tuesday also filed a motion to amend his complaint in a sealed court filing, following recent whistleblower claims from the former security head of Twitter.
Last week, Peiter Zatko, a famed hacker known as “Mudge”, said in a complaint filed with U.S. regulators that Twitter prioritized user growth over reducing spam and falsely claimed it had a solid security plan.
Musk and Twitter have sued each other in Delaware state court and a five-day trial is scheduled to start Oct. 17.
Twitter wants the court to order Musk to close the deal for $54.20 per share, while Musk is seeking to walk away without paying a $1 billion break-up fee saying Twitter violated the deal contract.
Musk asked the judge on Tuesday to let both sides continue briefing their cases through Nov. 10, followed by a conference to discuss what evidence they can introduce at trial. Musk said a trial could begin later that month “subject to the court’s availability”.
Musk sued Twitter in July and accused the company of fraud for misleading him about the amount of spam on the platform in its securities filings. He also alleged Twitter breached the deal contract and violated the Texas Securities Act.
According to legal experts it may be too late for Musk to switch gears now and come up with a new reason for voiding the deal agreement.
Twitter is likely to argue it would be unfair to allow Musk to amend his lawsuit, particularly given that Musk pushed the social media company’s board to agree to the deal while skipping due diligence.
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)