No apology to Elon Musk from British diver at ‘pedo man’ defamation trial


LOS ANGELES (Information) – The British cave explorer suing Elon Musk for calling him a “pedo man” on Twitter testified on Thursday that his criticism of the Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) chief government that led to the tweet was not a private assault.

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

Within the defamation trial’s third day, Vernon Unsworth additionally refused to apologize for a July 13, 2018, CNN interview during which he stated that Musk’s supply of a mini-submarine to assist rescue a boys’ soccer group from a flooded Thailand cave was a “PR stunt” and that Musk might “stick his submarine the place it hurts.”

“My insult was to the tube and to not Mr. Musk personally,” Unsworth stated whereas being cross-examined by Invoice Value, one in every of Musk’s legal professionals. “I’m unsure how I must apologize. It was my opinion on the time and I stand by that opinion.”

Unsworth started testifying on Wednesday following Musk’s testimony over components of two days.

Jurors might have the case by Friday after testimony from different witnesses and shutting arguments.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages over three Musk tweets on July 15, 2018, 5 days after Unsworth helped full the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from the cave.

Musk’s first tweet questioned Unsworth’s position within the rescue, whereas the second stated, “Sorry pedo man, you actually did ask for it.” The third tweet, in response to a follower who requested Musk concerning the second tweet, stated “Guess ya a signed greenback it’s true.”

Unsworth stated the tweets harmed his fame by branding him a pedophile and a liar, and stated on Wednesday that they left him “humiliated, ashamed, dirtied.”

Musk’s legal professionals have stated Unsworth’s fame was unsullied and that he even tried to revenue from his position within the rescue, which Value stated gained him plaudits from the Thai and British governments.

Requested if there was discuss of his being a pedophile at a 10 Downing Avenue occasion the place he stood subsequent to Theresa Could, then Britain’s prime minister, Unsworth stated: “Not that I recall.”

In his personal testimony, Musk, 48, apologized to Unsworth and stated he didn’t consider Unsworth was a pedophile.

He additionally dismissed the tweets as an “off the cuff” response to watching a replay of Unsworth’s CNN interview, at a time he felt overworked from working Tesla, which makes electrical automobiles, and SpaceX, a rocket firm that provided the mini-submarine.

Unsworth, 64, stated he started caving as a passion in 1971, and divides his time between Britain and Thailand, the place he has a Thai girlfriend.

To win his lawsuit, Unsworth wants to indicate Musk was negligent in publishing a falsehood that clearly recognized him and induced him hurt. He doesn’t want to indicate that Musk acted with “precise malice,” which is far harder to show.

Though the case doesn’t contain Tesla, Musk’s Twitter habits have lengthy been underneath scrutiny, with the corporate’s buyers and regulators expressing issues about his tweets.

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

Reporting by Nichola Groom and Rachel Parsons; Further reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Modifying by Howard Goller and Grant McCool