No Apology to Elon Musk From British Diver at Pedo Guy Defamation Trial
LOS ANGELES—The British cave explorer suing Elon Musk for calling him a “pedo guy” on Twitter testified on Thursday that his criticism of the Tesla Inc chief executive that led to the tweet was not a personal attack.
In the defamation trials third day, Vernon Unsworth also refused to apologize for a July 13, 2018, CNN interview in which he said that Musks offer of a mini-submarine to help rescue a boys soccer team from a flooded Thailand cave was a “PR stunt” and Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts.”
“My insult was to the tube and not to Mr. Musk personally,” Unsworth said while being cross-examined by Bill Price, one of Musks lawyers. “Im not sure how I need to apologize. It was my opinion at the time and I stand by that opinion.”
Unsworths lawsuit focuses on three Musk tweets on July 15, 2018, five days after the diver helped complete the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from the cave.
Musks first tweet questioned Unsworths role in the rescue, while the second said, “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.” The third tweet, in response to a follower who asked Musk about the second tweet, said “Bet ya a signed dollar its true.”
Unsworth, 64, said the tweets harmed his reputation by branding him a pedophile and a liar, and said on Wednesday they left him “humiliated, ashamed, dirtied.”
His lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Musk, who told the court this week his net worth is around $20 billion.
Legal experts are closely watching the case because it is believed to be the first major defamation lawsuit brought by a private individual to go to trial over a tweet.
Musk, 48, who was questioned throughout the afternoon on Tuesday by Unsworths lawyer, has maintained his composure. He apologized to Unsworth, and suggested to jurors the stress of working 80 to 100 hours a week during a challenging period for Tesla contributed to the outburst.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberations Friday after Judge Stephen Wilson formally instructs them before the two sides give closing arguments. Wilson rejected a motion from Musks lawyers to dismiss the case.
The Unsworth trial has revived discussion of Musks erratic behavior during 2018, when he also used Twitter to float a leveraged buyout proposal for Tesla that was scuttled and ultimately led to Musk paying $20 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint.
For most of this year, however, Musk, who has nearly 30 million Twitter followers, has largely kept his public comments focused on Teslas new models and improved profitability and on the technical progress of SpaceX.
Musks lawyers on Thursday tried to weaken the defamation argument, suggesting Unsworths reputation was unsullied and that he even tried to profit from his Read More – Source