Tesla CEO Elon Musk has just scored a huge win over Twitter in the ongoing court battle with the company over his deal to buy the social media platform.
On Wednesday, a judge ruled that Musk can use evidence from a Twitter whistleblower for his legal case.
Twitter is currently suing Musk in an effort to force the tech mogul to complete the $44 billion deal, which he terminated earlier this year.
Musk pulled out of the deal over claims that the true number of fake accounts on the platform is far higher than Twitter claims.
Twitter claims that fewer than 5% of accounts are fake while Musk argues that the number is closer to 20 percent.
Musk says in his countersuit that the number could be as high as 33%, with a lower number of monetizable daily active users potentially justifying a lower valuation.
As Slay News recently reported, an independent review found that the number of fake accounts could be as high as 80 percent.
A trial to determine the status of the acquisition deal is scheduled for October 17.
Although she did not amend the date of the trial, Delaware Chancery Court Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick granted attorneys representing Musk permission to use the testimony of a former Twitter executive.
Twitter whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko has claimed that his colleagues did not have the resources or motivation necessary to determine the number of bots on the platform.
Zatko also alleged that Twitter intentionally mislead Musk about fake accounts in order to get him to complete the deal.
Twitter reported losses of $0.08 per share in its second-quarter earnings, falling below the $0.14 gain per share expected by analysts.
The rough quarter was attributable to “advertising industry headwinds associated with the macroenvironment as well as uncertainty related to the pending acquisition of Twitter by an affiliate of Elon Musk,” the company said in a press release.
Earlier this year, Twitter joined other technology companies in attempting to cut costs by pausing hiring and reducing office space on multiple continents.
The company’s stock price has fallen from $64.98 one year ago to $41.22, marking a nearly 37% decline.
However, shares rose over 6% following McCormick’s decision to avoid moving the trial.
During court procedures on Tuesday, Twitter lawyer William Savitt revealed that Musk had texted Michael Grimes, a managing director at investment bank Morgan Stanley, on May 8 to express fears about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its potential effects on the global economy.
“Let’s slow down just a few days,” Musk said.
“Putin speech tomorrow is extremely important.”
“It won’t make sense to buy Twitter if we’re heading into World War III.”
The text could potentially place Musk in breach of contract, which requires the buyer to use his best efforts to complete a deal.
It could work against his claim that an inaccurate bot count was behind his hesitancy, according to a report from The New York Times’ DealBook.
Zatko’s whistleblower report, which was obtained by CNN and The Washington Post, also claimed that Twitter leadership misled board members and government officials about potential vulnerabilities that left the platform open to hacking, foreign manipulation, and spying.
He asserted that one or more current employees are working for a foreign intelligence agency.
“All engineers had access,” Zatko wrote.
“There was no logging of who went into the environment or what they did.
“Nobody knew where data lived or whether it was critical, and all engineers had some form of critical access to the production environment.”
Twitter’s lawsuit against the world’s richest man nevertheless asserts that he is obligated to complete the deal.
“Musk refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests,” the lawsuit said.
“Musk apparently believes that he … is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away.”