Musk will not settle ‘pedo man’ defamation lawsuit, lawyer says

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LOS ANGELES (Information) – An legal professional for Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of electrical automotive maker Tesla (TSLA.O), mentioned on Tuesday that his consumer had no intention of settling a defamation go well with introduced by a British cave explorer earlier than the case goes to trial on Dec. three. Vernon Unsworth is suing Musk for calling him a “pedo man” in one among a collection of tweets. Musk posted the tweets after Unsworth accused Musk in a CNN interview of grandstanding by providing to assist Unsworth’s diving staff rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a collapse Thailand in July 2018.

FILE PHOTO: SpaceX proprietor and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the crimson carpet for the auto awards “Das Goldene Lenkrad” (The golden steering wheel) given by a German newspaper in Berlin, Germany, November 12, 2019. Information/Hannibal Hanschke

Requested after Tuesday’s session in U.S. District Courtroom in Los Angeles if there was any probability Musk would settle earlier than the civil trial, his legal professional Alex Spiro advised Information: “No.”

The defamation go well with is without doubt one of the final remaining points hanging over Musk from a turbulent interval in 2018 and early 2019, throughout which the tech entrepreneur’s use of Twitter and his private conduct rattled Tesla shareholders and drew strain from regulators.

Attorneys for Musk and Unsworth argued for a second day on Tuesday about proof that could possibly be utilized in subsequent week’s trial. U.S. District Decide Stephen Wilson mentioned these arguments would proceed on Monday earlier than he supplies a written ruling.

Unsworth’s legal professional L. Lin Wooden needs to current a collection of emails Musk wrote to a Buzzfeed reporter in August of final 12 months, together with one during which he advised the reporter to “cease defending a toddler rapist.”

Unsworth’s authorized staff withdrew the Buzzfeed emails from the premise of its defamation go well with final week, and is suing now just for the 4 tweets Musk revealed in July 2018. However Wooden advised the courtroom he needs to current the emails as supporting proof pointing to Musk’s “way of thinking” within the authentic tweets.

Musk has apologized for the “pedo man” remark, saying it was a typical insult in his native nation of South Africa, and that he didn’t intend to accuse Unsworth of pedophilia.

“BACKDOOR EVIDENCE”

Spiro advised the courtroom Musk was “not attempting to dam proof” by wanting the emails excluded.

“(However) from our perspective, that is attempting to backdoor proof,” which, Spiro mentioned, might prejudice a possible jury after Wooden eliminated the emails from the defamation declare towards Musk.

Attorneys for each side mentioned on Monday that Musk and Unsworth would testify in what guarantees to be a combative trial. 

“Proof goes to be by Mr. Musk (testifying) that the truth is Mr. Musk didn’t name him a pedophile. Mr. Musk deleted the tweet, apologized and moved on,” Spiro advised the courtroom.

Unsworth, who’s searching for compensatory and punitive damages, will present proof of damages by “speaking about his worries, his anxieties, his concern by being branded a pedophile,” Wooden advised the courtroom on Monday.

Final week, Wilson rejected Musk’s try to have the lawsuit dismissed and likewise dominated that Unsworth was not a public determine – which makes it simpler to show defamation.

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Unsworth can now win if he reveals Musk acted negligently in making his feedback.

The dispute between the 2 males arose after the cave search staff in Thailand determined to not use a mini-submarine provided by Musk’s SpaceX rocket firm to assist with the rescue. Unsworth advised CNN the provide was a “PR stunt” and Musk might “stick his submarine the place it hurts.”

The case is Unsworth v Musk, U.S. District Courtroom, Central District of California, No. 18-08048.

Reporting by Rachel Parsons; writing by Invoice Tarrant; Modifying by Leslie Adler