Elon Musk Subpoenas Former Twitter CEO in Legal Battle Over $44B Deal

Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
Expertise I've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie award for consumer analysis
Queenie Wong
2 min read
Elon Musk sitting in a purple armchair with his hand on his chin

Elon Musk, seen here in 2019, is trying to back out of a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion.

James Martin/CNET

What's happening

Elon Musk's legal team subpoenaed former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Why it matters

Twitter and Musk are in a high-profile legal battle after the billionaire tried to back out of purchasing the company for $44 billion. Both sides are trying to gather evidence to support their arguments.

What's next

Twitter shareholders are scheduled to vote on the deal in September, and a trial is set for early October.

Elon Musk's lawyers subpoenaed former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Monday as the billionaire continues to battle a lawsuit that could force him to complete a $44 billion purchase of the social media company.

The notice of subpoena is the latest development in the high-profile legal battle between Twitter and Musk, the leader of automaker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX. Both Twitter and Musk have issued subpoenas ahead of a five-day trial that's scheduled to take place in October. 

Musk's legal team is trying to gather evidence to support his argument that Twitter provided him misleading information that prompted him to offer to buy the company at "an inflated price." Musk alleges that the number of spam and fake accounts on Twitter is larger than what the company has reported publicly and that could hinder the platform's ability to attract ad sales. Twitter says that fewer than 5% of the platform's more than 220 million daily users were spam-focused or fake but also notes there are caveats to its estimates.

Twitter has denied the allegations and said in its lawsuit against Musk that the billionaire is trying to back out of the deal because his personal wealth has fallen and the buyout has become more expensive.

Dorsey, a Twitter co-founder who stepped down as CEO of the company last year, has expressed support for Musk's attempt to take over Twitter. In April, he tweeted that he didn't believe anyone should own or run Twitter but taking it back from Wall Street is the "correct first step."

"Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust," Dorsey tweeted. "I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness."

Dorsey also had a discussion with Musk about social media's future and open social protocols in late March before Musk made a bid in April to purchase Twitter for $54.20 per share, a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission says. Twitter shareholders are expected to vote on the deal on Sept. 13.