Responding to Elon Musk’s Countersuit, Twitter Subpoenas All His Pals

Twitter is burying Elon Musk’s friends and acquaintances with subpoenas, and the billionaire’s colleagues say it’s a fishing expedition

Immediately after former Twitter suitor Elon Musk filed a countersuit on Friday against the social media monster—which was already suing him for backing out of a $44 billion deal to take the company—Twitter responded with a fury of requests for documents including “checklists, timelines, presentations, decks, organizational calls, meetings, notes, recordings” related to the deal’s financing.

According to the Washington Post, Twitter’s legal team is casting a wide net around Silicon Valley, and ensnaring some big names in world’s richest man’s inner circle, including Chamath Palihapitiya, David Sacks, Steve Jurvetson, Marc Andreessen, Jason Calacanis and Keith Rabois—some of whom were not directly involved in Musk’s plan to buy out the media company.

Calacanis and Andreesen are known to have helped finance some aspects of the deal. As for Palihapitiya, Calcanis, and Sacks (along with David Friedberg, chairman of tech company Metromile), they host a popular podcast called All-In, which covers “all things economic, tech, political, social & poker.” Calcanis and Sacks are also friends of the SpaceX CEO.

In May, the group hosted a live event associated with the podcast in Miami, the “All-In Summit,” where the SpaceX boss made an appearance via video conference and expressed concerns about his potential acquisition of Twitter. 

“[T]he more questions I ask, the more my concerns grow,” Musk stated. 

Rabois, another investor in the Twitter deal, worked with Musk at PayPal. Jurvetson serves on the board of SpaceX and previously served on the board of Tesla. He is also longtime friends with Musk, according to the Post.  

Joe Lonsdale, yet another character in Musk’s ensemble cast, was also subpoenaed. He tweeted that the subpoena was a “giant harassing fishing expedition,” and maintained that he had nothing to do with the deal “aside from a few snarky comments.”

Twitter also issued subpoenas to Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, which were involved in the deal. 

“There are a couple things that Twitter is probably looking for here,” Adam Badawi, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, told the Post. “The first would be anything nice Musk said about Twitter to encourage people to participate in the equity financing. The second would be anything he said that contradicts his public statements about bots.”

Back in early July, when Musk officially withdrew his bid to take over Twitter, he claimed that the social media company had withheld important information relevant to the deal, namely the amount of spam and bot accounts on the platform.

Twitter refuted those claims, stating that Musk’s withdrawal has nothing to do with the number of fake accounts on the site, a problem that Musk had promised was something he would combat as head of the company.

Twitter then filed a lawsuit against the low earth-orbiting Tesla chief, stating that the company intended to see the deal through.

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told the Post that speculations over Musk’s purchase of the company had “discombobulated their whole operation,” significantly dropping their stock and making it necessary for them to complete the deal. 

Tesla stock also dropped significantly in the economic turmoil caused by the Musk’s proposed takeover. The billionaire’s withdrawal closely followed significant losses to his own wealth, resulting from the fall in Tesla stock (of which he owns 17 percent). 

The October 17 court hearing in Delaware was expedited in order to mitigate damage to the already flailing social media platform and is expected to put an end to the Musk-Twitter saga by October 21. 

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