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Elon Musk allowed to amend Twitter countersuit but not delay trial

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Keenan joins the Live show to discuss the outcome from Tuesday's hearing on the Musk-Twitter case.

Video Transcript

JARED BLIKRE: All right, the Delaware judge overseeing the legal battle between Elon Musk and Twitter says the billionaire can amend his countersuit, but he cannot push the trial back. Yahoo Finance's Alexis Keenan has the latest. And Alexis, please spill the details of this latest in the saga.

ALEXIS KEENAN: Yeah, this just came down the pike. The filing just landed into the digital record. And what you said is right. Elon Musk is going to be able to amend his counterclaims against Twitter in their $44 billion merger dispute. So that standard, though, to amend your claims, whether it's a complaint or a counter complaint, those are liberal. And it's usually granted. This is to be expected that Elon Musk is going to get to amend it.

But what's important is what he's going to put in those counterclaims and those are the claims of Peter Zatko, the former head of security for Twitter, who was the whistleblower, whose claims are now being investigated by federal authorities. And he's also scheduled to testify before Congress. So that will be important because Musk's claim is that those claims by Zatko show that Twitter breached its end of the deal, to be determined.

Also, he's going to get to do some additional discovery on that matter. He's going to get more documents or more communications from Twitter. But the judge was very careful to say it's going to be limited to incremental requests. She's not going to open the door for Musk to look way back into Twitter's records. She's going to keep it tight here.

Now, the judge wrote in this decision-- I'm going to read a couple of things because I think it highlights kind of the sentiment that's going on inside this courtroom. First, she says as to this first granting of the additional discovery and the counterclaim amendments, she says the newly published whistleblower complaint would be grounds in most instances to prevent an amendment. I am reticent to say more concerning the merits of those counterclaims before they have been fully litigated.

The world, she says, will have to wait for the post-trial decision. So we'd love to get more light on what the judge thinks about those claims, but we're not going to get it here [INAUDIBLE].

JULIE HYMAN: Well, that was really interesting, too, there, the quote that we showed, that delaying the trial more would cause too much harm to Twitter. That's really interesting.

ALEXIS KEENAN: Right, OK, and this is critical. And maybe we had the wrong one up there, as I was reading the first one. That's OK. We'll flip them around. So this other quote that you just saw, that is her denying Musk's request to push the trial to at least November. Twitter has already been granted this expedited case, but the judge importantly said that, look, Twitter is already saying that it's suffering irreparable harm, as this case goes on and poses uncertainty for the whole operation of Twitter, that it has had employee attrition at levels it has not seen before.

Whether that's due to COVID, whether that's due to this case, we don't know. But she said Twitter needs to have some finality here in order for it to carry on with its business operations. So that's critical. We did not hear from the judge on some additional discovery requests that Musk made for emails and more communications. The parties were fighting contentiously yesterday about how much they're sharing of each other's records.

JARED BLIKRE: Can I ask you a quick question here? When we eventually get this trial-- and this is my 30,000-foot media world view comment with regard to bread and circuses-- is it going to be televised? What kind of access are we going to have, if you know, to this trial, or is it just going to be kind of closed and we got to wait for the reporters, such as you, to come out and tell us what happened?

ALEXIS KEENAN: Right, so the court will be open to reporters and the public. Anybody can attend this trial. I do not believe it will be televised. I don't believe the Delaware Chancery Court permits cameras in the courtroom. There are always all kinds of requests for how much media can get access. I'm sure that will happen here as well.

But yes, I think you'll have to wait for reporters to step out of the courtroom. And there's also rules that will govern whether live tweeting is allowed. Every courtroom is different. And sometimes even trials are different, where they set different rules depending on how much it will or will not disrupt the matter at hand.

JARED BLIKRE: We'll break out the popcorn here. Yahoo Finance's Alexis Keenan, we have-- I have an idea that you're going to be sharing many more details on this story in the days and weeks to come.

ALEXIS KEENAN: They're coming.

JARED BLIKRE: Yes, they are.