'Pedo Guy': Court Finds Elon Musk Did Not Defame British Diver
A jury decided that Elon Musk had not defamed British caver Vernon Unsworth after the billionaire referred to him as him “sus” (suspicious) and a “pedo guy” on Twitter.
Musk was found not liable for defamation in a Los Angeles federal court on Friday over comments made in relation to the Thai cave rescue.
The verdict was delivered on day four of the trial on Friday, a short time after the case was handed to the jury of five women and three men.
Unsworth was seeking $278m in damages from the Tesla founder, over the tweet sent last year.
A public row broke out between the two over the rescue of 12 boys trapped in a Thai cave in June 2018.
Musk's defense team argued that “pedo guy” was simply heated rhetoric and not meant as a statement of fact.
The SpaceX CEO told the court this week the phrase "pedo guy" was common in South Africa, where he grew up.
Musk, who testified during the first two days of the trial in his own defence 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."
Unsworth's attorney summed up his case against Musk by calling the high-tech entrepreneur a "billionaire bully" who "dropped a nuclear bomb" on Unsworth in a series of tweets suggesting he was a pedophile.
He said Musk's "pedo guy" remark was a slur that would overshadow Unsworth's relationships and job prospects for years to come.
The case is believed to be the first major defamation lawsuit by a private individual to go to trial over tweets.