Musk declined to attend in-person Twitter deposition, citing COVID exposure risk

Twitter’s attorneys accused Elon Musk of attempting to evade his testimony in the ongoing legal battle between Musk and the company after he refused to attend in person, citing the interviewing attorney’s exposure to COVID-19.

In a recent letter to the Delaware Court of Chancery, Twitter’s attorneys said Musk should sit down for a two-day in-person deposition beginning Sept. 28, but later claimed “Covid exposure risk” because the attorney who questioned him briefly Zeit had contact four days before with a person who tested positive the following day.

Twitter filed the lawsuit against Musk to demand that he honor his agreement to acquire the social media company, which he later attempted to exit. However, with a trial pending later this month, Musk said Tuesday he would proceed with buying the company at the price originally offered.

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Twitter’s attorneys question Musk’s sincerity when he refused to take part in testimony last month, noting that the infected contact initially tested negative after a visit to the attorney, and that the attorney showed no symptoms and was repeatedly negative for COVID -19 had tested.

“The trial begins in less than three weeks,” they wrote. “Mr. Musk is a key witness and Plaintiff is concerned that he is attempting to evade a fair investigation consistent with his role in the matters at issue.”

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Musk’s attorneys dismissed that characterization in a subsequent letter filed with the court, saying Twitter’s letter “omits critical facts.” They said Musk offered to testify remotely instead, but Twitter itself decided to delay testifying.

“The defendants have made the reasonable request – in accordance with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines,” Musk’s attorneys wrote.

According to the letter from Twitter, Musk’s testimony has been postponed to Thursday and Friday.

Musk had been trying to walk away from the Twitter deal for weeks, arguing the company misrepresented how many spam accounts exist on the platform.

His lawyers were also trying to get out of the deal over Twitter’s handling of high-profile whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the social media company’s former head of security, who made allegations of widespread security flaws.

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Despite Musk’s decision this week to move forward with his takeover bid, the process has yet to be called off.

Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, the court’s clerk, said Wednesday that neither Twitter nor Musk tried to stop the trial.

“The parties have not filed a stay condition of this lawsuit, nor has any party requested a stay,” she wrote. “I therefore continue to urge our trial to begin on October 17, 2022.”

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