Before Elon Musk revived his proposal to buy Twitter, he accused him of ordering the whistleblower to destroy evidence.
Shortly before Elon Musk revived his proposal to buy Twitter Inc. Last week, the billionaire accused the company of ordering the whistleblower to destroy evidence of its wrongdoing as part of a $7.8 million severance package.
Peter Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security, said he burned 10 handwritten notebooks and deleted 100 computer files at the request of company managers as part of his dismissal agreement, according to Oct. 3 court files disclosed Monday. The affidavits show that the books contained notes on the whistleblower’s meetings with company counterparts during his one-year tenure as chief of security.
Zatko was at the center of Musk’s arguments that Twitter misled him about a slew of operational issues at the social media platform — which justified the walk away from the $44 billion acquisition. The billionaire then reversed course last week and agreed to buy the company at $54.20 per share.
“Twitter’s attempt to buy Mr. Zatko’s silence failed, but Twitter achieved its secondary goal of ensuring that evidence supporting Mr. Zatko never surfaces,” Musk’s lawyers said in the unsealed filing.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the recording, which is part of Twitter’s lawsuit to force Musk to complete the acquisition, which has since been paused.
Delaware Chancery Judge Kathleen St. J. baptized. McCormick suspended the case and set October 28 as the deadline for Musk and Twitter to complete the deal. Musk’s lawyers are asking McCormick to punish Twitter’s lawyers for ordering them to destroy potential evidence in the case.
Zatko caused an uproar in Washington when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that Twitter’s lax approach to computer security threatens the national security of the United States.
Twitter said it fired Zatko in January over poor performance and said he provided a “misrepresentation of Twitter and our privacy and data security practices are riddled with inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and lack important context.”
Zatko asserts that he warned Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal about serious computer security issues and privacy concerns associated with the social media platform’s operations that amount to violations of the company’s settlements with government regulators. He also said his Twitter colleagues have shown little interest in taking a deep dive into the question of how many spam accounts and bots are included among the company’s more than 230 million users.
Musk’s lawyers have accused Twitter’s top lawyers, Vijaya Jade and Sean Edget, and chief privacy officer Damian Kiran, along with Agrawal, of seeking to cover up violations of legal settlements by ordering Zatko to destroy his documents.
The document destruction order deprived Musk’s legal team of “critical supporting evidence for Mr. Zatko’s allegations, which would support his account of key meetings and conversations related to this case,” according to the unsealed filing.
Meanwhile, Twitter complained in its unsealed file that Jared Birshall – Musk’s chief aide – appeared in his September 21 pretrial affidavit in the case unwilling to answer questions about a range of issues related to the transaction.
During the filing, Twitter’s legal team said in the filing: “During the filing, Birshall unequivocally admitted his lack of knowledge and lack of preparation – on topic after topic.” Birchall runs the Musk family office and was deeply involved in the negotiations to buy the social media platform.
Twitter’s lawyers said Birshall had little or no information about his communications with government regulators about the deal, hiring data scientists to review the number of spam accounts or bots included in Twitter’s customer base or Musk’s side efforts to retrieve messages related to the transaction. .
A spokesperson for Musk’s attorney did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment on Twitter’s complaints about Birchall’s testifying.
The case is Twitter v. Musk, 22-0613, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).
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