Trump to be deposed in dispute with media company co-founders

By Tom Hals

WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled to be deposed later this month by lawyers for co-founders of his social media company as part of a dispute over ownership in Trump Media & Technology Group, which went public last week.

A notice filed with Delaware's Court of Chancery, where the co-founders sued Trump Media, said the deposition is scheduled for April 15 at 10 am ET (1400 GMT) in New York, which is also the scheduled start of Trump's first criminal trial.

Depositions often get rescheduled.

Trump campaign spokespersons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The notice of deposition did not specify the questions and Christopher Clark, an attorney for the co-founders, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump Media, which owns the Truth Social messaging platform, was sued in February by Andy Litinsky and Wes Moss, two former contestants on Trump's reality TV show The Apprentice. They said in 2021 they were pledged 8.6% of pre-merger Trump Media stock for helping to launch the company.

The co-founders accused Trump Media of denying them their stake, which they own through their United Atlantic Ventures partnership, by trying to dilute their stock and by preventing them from selling it.

Trump Media sued Litinsky and Moss in Florida on March 24, and is seeking to strip them of their stock, which it said they failed to earn due to mismanagement.

Delaware judge Sam Glasscock said this week he expected to hold a hearing to resolve the dispute before the end of April.

Trump owned 90% of the social media company prior to its merger last month with a blank check firm that took the company public. He owns a majority of the merged company.

Since the merger, the company's stock has soared in value despite its weak underlying finances, driven by speculators betting on the company's link to the former president.

In midday trade on Thursday, Trump Media was down 4.2% at $46.70, valuing the company at more than $6 billion.

Trump is facing four criminal cases and has plead not guilty to all charges.

On April 15, a trial in New York state court is scheduled on charges Trump falsified business records to cover up a payment to a porn star to buy her silence about a sexual encounter before the 2016 election.

Trump also faces criminal charges in Washington related to federal election interference, a state case in Georgia over his efforts to reverse the 2020 election results, and a federal case in Florida over his handling of sensitive government documents after leaving office in 2021.

Those cases lack firm trial dates.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Bill Berkrot)