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Elon Musk’s lawyers say Twitter is making the pretrial process impossible

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Musk wants the trial to start October 17th

Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

Elon Musk’s lawyers have filed a letter to the Delaware Chancery Court saying, essentially, that Twitter isn’t playing nice in the pretrial process and should be forced to do so. The letter, which you can read in full below, is addressed to Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick — who will ultimately decide the case over whether Musk can get out of his contract to buy Twitter for $44 billion — and also requests that the trial should be scheduled to begin on October 17th.

Last week, McCormick decided that the trial will start in October. Twitter had pushed for proceedings to commence as early as possible, arguing that the ongoing shenanigans are hurting the company and that things should be resolved as quickly as possible. (Twitter, of course, intends to make Musk follow through and pay $54.20 a share to buy the company.) Musk’s team asked for a much longer timeline, hoping to start the trial early next year. But McCormick picked October and told the two sides to begin preparation.

Now, Team Musk is saying it tried to begin the discovery process and was repeatedly thwarted by Twitter. “Defendants’ efforts to make sure this case is trial-ready by October, have not been reciprocated by Twitter, who at every turn has sought to delay,” the lawyers wrote in the letter to McCormick. Musk’s primary angle for getting out of the deal seems to be to prove that Twitter has a spambot problem it didn’t represent accurately, and he needs the information to prove it. But, of course, that’s not what this case is about. It’s about the contract to buy Twitter and whether Musk is required to honor it.

Musk’s lawyers cited three main issues holding up the process and asked McCormick to resolve all three. First is the lack of a specific trial date, which the letter says is allowing Twitter to “delay all other scheduling discussions.” Twitter wants the trial to begin on October 10th, but Musk wants it to start a week later, saying that the extra week of prep time would be crucial. Second, Musk’s lawyers say that Twitter is not producing the documents it needs even though they’re easy to produce. And third, “Twitter refuses to produce raw data that it maintains in the ordinary course,” which presumably refers to more of Twitter’s firehose data, and Musk’s team says it needs that data by August 1st. The letter asks McCormick to compel Twitter to produce all of that information on Musk’s timeline.

In a trial that has become a volleyball game of back-and-forth legal filings, Twitter will surely respond soon enough. It has said in the past that Musk’s data requests are ridiculous and irrelevant to the case at hand and continues to argue that every minute this whole ordeal lasts is damaging to Twitter as a company and a product. And, of course, Twitter has accused Musk of being just as obfuscating and unhelpful in the process.

There’s a lot more complaining in legalese to come in the next few weeks, as both sides jockey to give themselves an upper hand in the court battle to come this fall. The most interesting thing to watch is how McCormick decides to involve herself here; she’s in charge, and how she sees the fight unfolding could be a clue as to where it might end.