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Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is facing a defamation lawsuit from cave diver Vernon Unsworth, following the pair's public spat after the rescue of a children's soccer team stuck inside Thailand's caves. The spat, which involved Twitter, CNN and Mr. Musk's emails to reporters took an ugly turn early on with both individuals making personal attacks on each other.
Following Mr. Musk's challenge to Mr. Unsworth asking the diver to challenge him, Mr. Unsworth proceeded to do just that last year in a California court. Now, both individuals are set to testify on their behalf in front of US District Judge Stephen Wilson.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk Will Testify Before Court In Defamation Lawsuit Brought Against Him
Last week, Judge Wilson of the United States District Court in Los Angeles dismissed claims made by Mr. Musk's attorneys that their client's statements were not allegations. The judge has also refused to classify Mr. Unsworth as a public figure. Now, following the case's pretrial hearing today, Reuters has confirmed that Mr. Musk will in his own defense in the lawsuit.
By the looks of it, Mr. Musk's defense to calling Mr. Unsworth a ''pedo guy'' is to state that while he did make the statement, his nature was to insult the diver and not to insinuate any wrongdoing. However, it will be difficult to prove this assertion, as the Tesla CEO followed his words with strongly worded emails to reporters. These emails, along with a new Tweet repeated Mr. Musk's 'insult' and they are provided as exhibits in Mr. Unsworth's lawsuit against the executive according to documents seen by Wccftech.
Mr. Musk's lawyer Alexander Spiro told the court, "Evidence is going to be through Mr. Musk (testifying) that in fact, Mr. Musk didn’t call him a pedophile. Mr. Musk deleted the tweet, apologized and moved on." But as we've mentioned above, if Mr. Musk had really moved on, then he would not have repeated his insults/allegations against Mr. Unsworth in subsequent tweets and emails.
Mr. Unsworth's attorney, on the other hand, stated that his client will also testify in person and highlight the distress he had to go through after being dubbed a pedophile by Mr. Musk. The statements were made as a part of a pretrial hearing that took place today.
Given the fact that Mr. Musk is the head of a publicly-traded company, his statements carry the potential to negatively or positively affect Tesla's share price. The Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO's statements in court might also sway investor sentiment, but since the entire affair is immaterial to the company, any major effect is unlikely.
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