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Jury Clears Elon Musk In Defamation Suit Over 'Pedo Guy' Tweet – NPR, Npr.org

Jury Clears Elon Musk In Defamation Suit Over 'Pedo Guy' Tweet – NPR, Npr.org


      

            

    

    

        

                Tesla CEO Elon Musk (center) arrives at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles this week.                                                                           Mark J. Terrill / AP                                                      hide caption            

            

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                 Mark J. Terrill / AP              

    

    

        

Tesla CEO Elon Musk (center) arrives at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles this week.

        

                         Mark J. Terrill / AP                          

   

   

A federal jury in Los Angeles Friday found that Elon Musk did not defame a British cave explorer when he called him a “pedo guy” in a tweet last year.

The explorer, Vernon Unsworth, (**********************************************, had participated in the dramatic rescue of 15 boys and their soccer coach who had been trapped in a Thailand cave. Afterwards, Unsworth dismissed a plan by Tesla chief executive Musk to rescue the boys using aminiature submarineas a “PR stunt.” Musk responded calling Unsworth a “pedo guy.”

Unsworth said the term was meant to label him as a pedophile and filed a lawsuit seeking $ million dollars in damages. The jury of five women and three men deliberated for less than an hour before deciding that Musk had not defamed Unsworth.

During the trial, Musk insisted that his remarks were off- the-cuff and that “no one interpreted it to mean pedophile.” Yet in a follow-up to his initial tweet, he wrote another message that read, “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.” Musklater apologizedand deleted the tweets.

Musk also testified that his tweet was provoked by Unsworth who had said of the Tesla CEO’srescue plan“he can stick his submarine where it hurts.”

The Thai boys and their soccer coach were rescued by divers who put wetsuits and oxygen tanks on them and escorted them out.

Unsworth’s lawsuit also alleged that a Musk employee hired a private investigatorto look into the cave explorer’s background and that Musk himself encouraged at least one reporter to find evidence that Unsworth was a child rapist.

But ultimately Unsworth’s lawyers failed to convince the jury that Musk had defamed their client.

Jury foreman Joshua JonessaidUnsworth’s team spent too much time on emotional aspects of the case and not enough on the hard evidence.


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