Elon Musk has subpoenaed his friend and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as part of an effort to back out of his $44bn agreement to acquire the social media platform.
The subpoena was revealed in a court document on Monday.
Musk and Twitter are embroiled in a legal battle after the billionaire businessman offered to buy the company – then tried to back out, claiming that Twitter had failed to provide adequate information about the number of fake, or “spam bot”, accounts on the platform. Twitter argues that Musk’s reasons for backing out are just a cover for buyer’s remors.
Twitter and Musk are headed for a 17 October trial in Delaware that should determine whether or not the company can force him to go through with the acquisition.
In recent weeks, Twitter has subpoenaed a host of tech investors and entrepreneurs connected to Musk, including the prominent venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and David Sacks, the founding chief operating officer of PayPal.
Bot and spam accounts have become a central issue in the legal fight over whether the Tesla CEO must complete the deal. Musk’s team expects more information about the bot numbers to be revealed in the trial court discovery process, when both sides must hand over evidence.
Last week, a judge ruled that Twitter must give Musk documents from a former Twitter executive, who Musk said was a key figure in calculating the number of fake accounts on the platform. Twitter was ordered to collect, review and produce documents from former general manager of consumer product Kayvon Beykpour, according to the order from the Delaware court of chancery.
Shortly after Musk agreed to pay 38% above Twitter’s stock price, the stock market stumbled and shares of the electric-car maker Tesla, where most of Musk’s personal wealth resides, lost more than $100bn of their value.