Tesla Inc boss Elon Musk wins defamation trial over 'pedo guy' tweet

Daniel Fowler
December 7, 2019

Elon Musk defeated defamation allegations Friday from a British cave explorer who claimed he was branded a pedophile when the Tesla CEO called him "pedo guy" in an angry tweet.

The verdict was delivered on the fourth day of the trial a short time after the case was handed to the jury of five women and three men.

In an attempt to persuade the jury that the comment was harmful - and Musk should compensate him for it - Unsworth, a financial consultant who divides his time between England and Thailand, described the effect it had on him.

But under cross-examination on Thursday, Musk's lawyers tried to show that Unsworth wasn't harmed by the comment, displaying for the jury a picture of the caver with then British Prime Minister Theresa May in front of 10 Downing Street.

Mr Unsworth, an experienced 64-year-old cave explorer, splits his time between the United Kingdom and Thailand.

"Usually elected officials don't want to stand next to someone who is a pedophile", said William Price, one of Musk's lawyers.

Mr Musk's lawyer, Alex Spiro, responded that the tweets were the result of an argument between the two men.

Boy, 5, invites entire class to watch his adoption
Judge Patricia Gardner told local news channel WZZM it was an "incredible" scene. "Sometimes their journeys have been very long". Ms Melvin and Mr Eaton had been the boy's foster parents for around a year before the process was formally completed yesterday.

"When Elon Musk tweets something, it goes around the world", his attorney added.

What was said at court?

He apologized for it on Twitter, and again during the trial, which began Tuesday.

Contesting this, Mr Wood cited another now-deleted tweet the billionaire sent to his followers saying: "Bet ya a signed dollar it's true".

Musk, 48, who had testified during the first 2 days of the trial in his own defense and returned to court on Friday to hear closing arguments from the two sides, exited the courtroom after the verdict and said: "My faith in humanity is restored".

Mr Unsworth, who helped rescue youth football players trapped in a cave in Thailand, told the court that Mr Musk's Twitter rant had resulted in his name being associated with paedophilia.

Court reporters said the diver appeared on the verge of tears as he told jurors: "It feels very raw". He claimed in court this week that since "being branded a pedophile" by Musk, he has felt "vulnerable and sometimes, when I'm in the United Kingdom, I feel isolated".

Spiro mocked Unsworth's claims that he had been shamed and humiliated and that the tweet effectively sentenced him to a life sentence without parole, noting that there are many people actually serving such a term. "No bomb went off". "It hurts to talk about it".

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