Elon Musk, at defamation trial, says he wrote ‘pedo man’ tweet ‘off the cuff’

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LOS ANGELES (Information) – Elon Musk, wrapping up two days of testimony at his defamation trial on Wednesday, insisted his “pedo man” Twitter message on the coronary heart of the case was an “off-the-cuff” insult hurriedly written in anger and never meant to be taken actually.

Elon Musk walks along with his face turned away from cameras as he arrives at courtroom for trial in a defamation case filed by British cave diver Vernon Unsworth who’s suing the Tesla Inc chief govt for calling him a “pedo man” in one in all a collection of tweets, because the case begins in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December four, 2019. Information/David McNew

The chief govt of electrical carmaker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and founding father of rocket firm SpaceX additionally acknowledged in a packed Los Angeles federal courtroom his internet value, principally from inventory holdings in these two firms, was about $20 billion.

“Typically folks assume I’ve numerous money. I really don’t,” he stated.

Musk, 48, the primary witness to testify at his trial, additionally apologized once more from the stand to the plaintiff, Vernon Unsworth, the British cave explorer and diver who’s searching for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages within the case.

After main a profitable rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded collapse Thailand in July 2018, Unsworth in a CNN interview mocked Musk’s supply of a mini-submersible as a public relations stunt, and stated Musk may “stick his submarine the place it hurts.”

Musk testified he took to Twitter two days later to lash again at Unsworth as a result of he discovered Unsworth’s feedback “extraordinarily impolite and contemptuous.”

“This was very a lot a casual response,” Musk stated.

‘IT’S AN INSULT’

Requested whether or not he was accusing Unsworth of the crime of pedophilia by referring to him as “pedo man” in a collection of tweets, Musk stated, “completely not.”

“It’s an insult, like saying mother-effer doesn’t really imply somebody having intercourse with their mom,” he stated, utilizing a sanitized model of a extra vulgar expression.

Musk’s “pedo man” tweet is one in all three tweets that Unsworth has stated defamed him and harmed his popularity. In one of many others, Musk wrote: “Guess ya a signed greenback it’s true,” in response to a Twitter follower asking whether or not he was actually suggesting that Unsworth was a pedophile.

On the witness stand on Wednesday, Musk downplayed that tweet, saying: “It’s clearly a low-stakes wager.”

U.S. District Choose Stephen Wilson has stated the case hinges on whether or not an affordable individual would take Musk’s tweets to imply that he was calling Unsworth a pedophile.

To win the defamation case, Unsworth wants to point out that Musk was negligent in publishing a falsehood that clearly recognized him and precipitated him hurt. “Precise malice” by Musk doesn’t must be confirmed as a result of the choose deemed Unsworth a personal particular person, not a public determine.

Though the case doesn’t contain Tesla, Musk’s Twitter habits have lengthy been below shut scrutiny, with the corporate’s traders and regulators expressing considerations about his tweets.

With 29.9 million followers, Musk’s social media account is a significant supply of publicity for the Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which doesn’t promote.

Extra reporting by Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Culver Metropolis, California; Modifying by Invoice Tarrant, Sonya Hepinstall and Cynthia Osterman