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Elon Musk’s legal team subpoenas Twitter whistleblower for statement

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Elon Musk’s legal team reported that Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko appeared on September 9 for deposition in an ongoing legal battle over the billionaire’s deal to acquire the social network for $44 billion.

The subpoena seeks any documents Zatko linked to his complaint to federal regulators that Twitter has misled the public about “extreme and blatant deficiencies” in its security practices, as well as any documents related to spam on the platform, attempts of the company concealing its security vulnerabilities and accusations that the company employs foreign intelligence service agents.

The subpoena, which was made public Monday, indicates how Zatko’s accusations could influence litigation in Delaware Chancery Court between Musk and Twitter over the Tesla CEO’s efforts to back out of his commitment to acquire the social network. Musk has alleged that the company is grossly underestimating the number of spam and bot accounts on its platform, and thus overstating the number of legitimate users.

Zatko’s attorneys said in a statement Monday that he received the subpoena on Saturday.

“Mr. Zatko will fulfill his legal obligations from that subpoena and his appearance at the deposition is involuntary,” Zatko’s attorneys, Debra S. Katz and Alexis Ronickher, said in a statement. “He did not make his whistleblower disclosures to law enforcement agencies. appropriate government agencies to benefit Musk or harm Twitter, but to protect the American public and Twitter shareholders.”

New whistleblower allegations could influence Twitter’s trial against Musk

Zatko’s complaint could add ammunition to Musk’s legal arguments. His complaint, which was filed last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically accuses Twitter of “lying about bots to Elon Musk.” He alleges that the company has no incentive to count the actual number of bots and accounts on the service. Still, there was little hard documentation included in the disclosures seen by The Washington Post, which obtained the complaint.

The new subpoena was made public just days after Musk’s lawyers filed Zatko’s complaint at a hearing asking for more data from the company about its handling of the bots. Alex Spiro, a partner at Quinn Emanuel who represents Musk, previously told The Post that they had sought a subpoena from Zatko before his whistleblower complaint became public.

Elon Musk’s Lawyers File Twitter Whistleblower Complaint In Court

In a separate filing Monday night, Twitter alleged that Musk’s friend and confidante, David Sacks, was lying about his involvement in the acquisition. The company had previously subpoenaed Sacks, an investor who hosts a popular podcast, for his conversations with Musk about the deal.

In response to that subpoena, Sacks tweeted a virtual middle finger to “Twitter lawyers,” then a video of a man urinating on a subpoena while yelling expletives to a cheering crowd. He later told his podcast audience that he had “no relevant information” about the deal, according to Monday’s filing.

The filing alleges that Sacks communicated privately about the deal with Musk and that Sacks’s fund, Craft, had “entered into a confidentiality agreement with Musk for the purpose of exchanging confidential information in connection with a potential investment in Twitter.”

Sacks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Elizabeth Dwoskin contributed to this report.

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