Elon Musk has subpoenaed former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

23 Aug 2022

Jack Dorsey in Dublin. Image: Julien Behal

As Musk prepares for a legal battle over his Twitter takeover U-turn, the subpoena calls for Dorsey to reveal documents relating to the deal.

The legal battle between Elon Musk and Twitter is heating up as court filings made public yesterday (22 August) show that the billionaire has issued a subpoena to Twitter’s former CEO and co-founder, Jack Dorsey.

Dorsey stepped down as CEO last November, giving way to his successor Parag Agrawal. He remained on the company’s board until late May – a month after Musk announced plans to acquire Twitter for $44bn.

But Musk is now looking to walk away from the deal, and Twitter is responding with legal action.

The subpoena calls for Dorsey to reveal all documents and communications relating to the merger deal as well as those “reflecting, referring to or relating to the impact or effect of false or spam accounts on Twitter’s business and operations”.

Musk’s main argument for backing out of the takeover has been that Twitter failed to provide enough information on the number of bots and spam accounts on its platform. Musk is also interested in finding out the extent to which its monetisable daily active users add value to the company.

Twitter, which is looking to see the deal go through, argues that Musk is using this as an excuse to wiggle out of the transaction as it “no longer serves his personal interests”.

Musk and Dorsey are known to be friends. When Musk first announced that he was taking over Twitter, Dorsey endorsed the Tesla boss in a tweet.

“In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter,” Dorsey wrote. “It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.”

Dorsey is not the only former Twitter exec to be targeted by Musk’s legal team.

Twitter was recently ordered to hand over documents from former product head Kayvon Beykpour, who said earlier this year that he was asked to leave the company by Agrawal. Musk also subpoenaed Bruce Falck, the former revenue product lead who left the company along with Beykpour.

The moves by the billionaire CEO and co-founder of Tesla and SpaceX come less than two months ahead of a scheduled legal showdown with Twitter, starting on 17 October in a Delaware court.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic