Elon Musk defamation trial for 'pedo guy' tweet beginning today

03 Décembre, 2019, 16:58 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Elon Musk heads to court for defamation trial over ‘pedo guy’ tweet

Elon Musk is going on trial on Tuesday for his troublesome tweets in a defamation case pitting the billionaire against a British diver he allegedly branded a paedophile.

Two days later, Musk lashed out at Unsworth in a series of tweets, including one which called him a "pedo guy".

"'Pedo guy" was a common insult used in South Africa when I was growing up", Musk said in a court declaration.

He must prove the tweets were false, that Musk did not use reasonable care to determine if they were true, and that people reasonably understood them to mean he was a pedophile. "It is synonymous with "creepy old man" and is used to insult a person's appearance and demeanour, not accuse a person of paedophilia".

The case against Mr Musk got a boost when Judge Wilson last month said Mr Unsworth's sudden fame from the rescue did not make him a "public figure", meaning he did not need to show that Mr Musk acted with "actual malice" when posting his tweets.

Musk and Tesla reached a $40-million USA settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission a year ago on allegations he misled investors with a tweet declaring he had secured financing to buy out the electric vehicle maker. He agreed in the settlement to have future tweets about the company screened.

The SEC sought to hold him in contempt of court, which led to a new agreement imposing tighter controls on Mr Musk's tweets about the company.

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Jury selection was set to begin on Tuesday in the civil suit brought against the Tesla Inc chief executive by a British cave explorer who gained fame for his leading role in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand a year ago.

The case stems from an offer Musk made to furnish a mini-submarine from his SpaceX company to help with the cave rescue in July 2018. The device was heavily publicised but never used.

Rescue workers take out machines last July after 12 soccer players and their coach were rescued in Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Unsworth, a diver and caving expert whose advice was considered crucial in the rescue operation, said the sub would never have fit in the cave's tight spaces. He told CNN that Mr Musk could "stick his submarine where it hurts".

Despite removing the tweets, he later suggested in emails to the news website BuzzFeed that Unsworth was a "child rapist" and had moved to northern Thailand to take "a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time". He provided no evidence.

Mr Unsworth is seeking unspecified damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress.

Wilson also refused to reverse a ruling that bars plaintiff's lawyers from introducing Musk's financial statements, after defense attorneys acknowledged in court that their client has publicly put his net worth at $20 billion.

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