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Feb 13 (Reuters) – More than a month after Twitter Inc CEO Elon Musk said an internal “error” caused the company to hire a law firm that he had publicly accused of corruption, the firm has formally ended its involvement in Twitter’s case.
Lawyers from Seattle-founded Perkins Coie told a federal judge in California on Friday that another firm will take over representation of Twitter and its former CEO Jack Dorsey in the case, a civil RICO lawsuit filed by a far-right activist who was previously banned from the social media platform.
Perkins Coie partner Julie Schwartz and spokespeople for the firm did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Willkie, Farr & Gallagher partners Jonathan Patchen, Meryl Governski and Michael Gottlieb are now representing Twitter in the case. They did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reuters reported last month that lawyers from Perkins Coie have recently entered court appearances for Twitter even though Musk has disparaged the law firm, including in a May tweet that said Perkins Coie is made up of “white-shoe lawyers” who “thrive on corruption. “
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In December, Musk again called out the firm in a tweet citing a former Perkins Coie lawyer, Michael Sussmann, who advised Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign while at the firm.
Sussmann was acquitted in May of federal charges that he falsely told the FBI he was not working on Clinton’s behalf when he gave the agency purported evidence of cyber links between the Trump Organization and a Russia-based bank.
“No company should use them until they make amends for Sussmann’s attempt to corrupt a Presidential election,” Musk wrote, referring to Perkins Coie.
Musk last month told Reuters that hiring Perkins Coie in the California lawsuit was “an error on the part of a member of the Twitter team.”
Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Twitter’s internal and outside legal staff has been in flux ever since Musk acquired the company for $44 billion and took over as CEO in October.
He fired Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s legal affairs and policy officer, among other in-house changes, and replaced the company’s outside attorneys in several cases.
The California lawsuit, brought last year by Laura Loomer, claims social media giants, corporations and the US government conspired to “unlawfully censor conservative voices and interfere with American elections.” Twitter and Dorsey have denied the claims.
Elon Musk says Twitter staff ‘error’ led to hiring Perkins Coie law firm
Reporting by David Thomas
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