Elon Musk Goes to Trial For 'Pedo Guy' Tweet

Elon Musk Goes to Trial For 'Pedo Guy' Tweet

Stephen Wilson also noted that Musk's statements to the BuzzFeed reporter were a key reason why Musk's defence of using hyperbole was insufficient in the court filings.

Musk called Unsworth a "pedo" on social media in July 2018 after the two got into a tit-for-tat after the divider helped rescue a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand.

Enigmatic businessman and Tesla CEO Elon Musk faced massive backlash in September after calling British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth a "pedo guy" on his Twitter account, which now has 26.4 million followers. Tesla has not yet responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation's request for comment. In calling for the trial, Judge Wilson said a jury would not "necessarily" see Musk's comments as factual, pointing to an email the CEO sent to a BuzzFeed reporter that meant to prompt an investigation into Unsworth and said to, "stop defending child rapists", continuing the idea the British man was involved in unverified crimes. Musk's contributions weren't used, and Unsworth told CNN at the time that Musk's effort was a "PR stunt".

But the judge disagreed saying "a reasonable fact-finder could easily conclude that defendant's statements, as pleaded in the complaint, implied assertions of objective fact", and scheduled a trial to begin on October 22.

But the good news story was somewhat tainted after it became overshadowed by some tweets from Elon Musk calling one of the divers "pedo guy".

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Unsworth has denied those allegations.

"The significance of the ruling is clear: publication of accusations on Twitter does not provide a safe harbor for defamatory statements that are false and convey that they are factual", Unsworth's lawyer L. Lin Wood said in an email.

Mr Unsworth is seeking at least $75,000 (£57,700) in compensation plus punitive damages in his September 2018 lawsuit.

While the decision to go ahead with the trial doesn't legally condemn Musk as guilty of these actions, it does mean that the court system believes there to be a case worthy of hearing.

The case is Unsworth v Musk, US District Court, Central District of California, No. 18-08048.

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