Elon Musk wins 'pedo guy' trial
"My faith in humanity is restored," Musk said after hearing the verdict.
Elon Musk has emerged victorious in a defamation lawsuit filed by British diver Vern Unsworth after the duo exchanged strong words amid the rescue efforts for children trapped in a Thai cave.
The executive declined to settle the case after he was sued for calling Unsworth a "pedo guy" in an infamous Twitter rant, responding to the diver's accusation that his prototype rescue pod was a "PR stunt" that had no chance of working.
Musk took the stand and explained to the jury that he meant Unsworth was a "creepy old man," not a pedophile, despite clearly leveling accusations that the diver was a "child rapist" in an email to a reporter. The executive's lawyers also argued that the Twitter post was not meant as a statement of fact did not result in any actual harm to Unsworth.
In the end, the judge clarified to jurors that Musk's public comments must meet a list of five criteria to be considered a violation of defamation laws. One juror, Los Angeles attorney Carl Shusterman, told BuzzFeed that the group only got to the second point, "about being acquainted" with Unsowrth, and felt that a reasonable person would not have read the "pedo guy" post and concluded that it was tied to Unsworth.
"The people that read Musk's tweet wouldn't have known who he was talking about," Shusterman said.
Musk had apologized repeatedly in court for making the comment. His lawyers pressed for an equal gesture from Unsowrth, asking if he believed Musk sent his rescue pod to Thailand "with no regard for the children's lives" and if he would be willing to apologize for claiming it was a PR stunt. Unsworth declined, however, and said his original comment was "to the tube" and not Musk, according to TechCrunch.
"My faith in humanity has been restored," Musk said after receiving the verdict, as quoted by CNBC.