Economy

Elon Musk faces trial after calling British diver a paedophile

Elon Musk faces trial after calling British diver a paedophile”

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined Musk and Tesla $20m each a year ago after the billionaire's tweet in August 2018 claimed he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private at $420 per share.

While Unsworth put together a team of United Kingdom cave divers who helped free the boys trapped by rising water levels in a cave in July a year ago, Musk's Tesla engineers built a small submarine and sent it to Thailand to assist in a rescue effort.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk will have to go to trial to defend himself for mocking a British diver as a "pedo guy" in a verbal sparring match that unfolded after the underwater rescue of youth soccer players trapped in a Thailand cave.

In July, the Tesla CEO called Vernon Unsworth, who assisted in the rescue, a "pedo guy" on Twitter after the diver criticized Musk's proposed submarine rescue plan.

Unsworth has denied those allegations.

Musk's defense team has written off the insults as hyperbole, but the USA judge last month denied the request to dismiss the suit brought by Unsworth.

But the judge said Mr Musk was not communicating in "heated and volatile" settings that might explain any excesses.

Taken together, they allowed Judge Wilson to conclude "There is nothing about the context in which [Musk] made the statements.that would create doubt as to whether [Musk's] statements implied assertions of objective fact".

Wilson said in a footnote he has not found that reasonable jurors would "necessarily" view Musk's comments as factual.

In his lawsuit, Unsworth has requested at least $75,000 in compensatory damages plus punitive damages from Musk.

Unsworth dismissed the Space X entrepreneur's attempt as a "publicity stunt" in an interview with CNN, prompting Musk to hit back online.

On April 30, a Manhattan federal judge approved Musk's revised settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) setting out when Musk must obtain advance approval from a Tesla securities lawyer before posting on Twitter or other social media. He also said at the time, that he wants to sue Musk in the courts of Great Britain and the US.



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