Judge sets October trial date for Elon Musk defamation case after ruling the Tesla CEO was not protected by the First Amendment when he called a British diver who helped save a youth soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand a ‘pedo’ on Twitter
- A federal court judge in Los Angeles set an October 22 trial date on Friday
- Musk unsuccessfully attempted to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Vernon Unsworth
- The experienced diver was part of a team who rescued 12 youth soccer players and their coach who got trapped for 18 days in a Thai cave last July
- Musk and his SpaceX engineers built a small submarine to help with the rescue
- The device wasn’t used and Unsworth called it a ‘PR stunt’ in a CNN interview
- Musk retaliated by calling Unsworth a ‘pedo guy’ on Twitter
- He apologized but later doubled-down on his insult in an email to a journalist, telling the reporter to investigate Unsworth and ‘stop defending child rapists’
- Unsworth is seeking more than $75,000 in damages from the eccentric CEO
A trial date has been set for the defamation case against Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who called a British diver a pedophile on Twitter last summer following the underwater rescue of a youth soccer team trapped in a Thailand cave.
A federal court judge in Los Angeles set an October 22 trial date in a Friday court filing that rejected Musk’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Vernon Unsworth.
The British financial broker, who is from outside of London, is an experienced diver and was part of a team that successfully rescued a soccer team of 12 boys and their coach who got trapped for 18 days in a Thai cave last summer.
In an effort to get involved with the rescue mission, Musk and his SpaceX engineers built a small submarine and shipped it to Thailand to help.
The device wasn’t used and Unsworth called it a ‘PR stunt’ during a television interview.
In response, Musk labelled Unsworth a ‘pedo guy’ in a tweet to his 22 million Twitter followers.
Although later apologizing, Musk doubled-down on his comments in an email to a Buzzfeed journalist, telling the reporter to investigate Unsworth and ‘stop defending child rapists’.
Unsworth is seeking more than $75,000 in damages from Musk, a multibillionaire. The suit also seeks a court order prohibiting Musk from making any further disparaging comments.
Musk attempted to have the case thrown out last month by arguing that his insult was protected under the First Amendment, but the judge overseeing the case disagreed.
Elon Musk’s defamation trial for calling British diver Vernon Unsworth a pedophile on Twitter last July is set to begin on October 22. Unsworth (right) was part of the team of divers involved in the underwater rescue of 12 boys on a youth soccer team who got trapped in a Thailand cave
In an effort to get involved with the rescue mission, Musk and his SpaceX engineers built a small submarine and shipped it to Thailand to help. The device wasn’t used and Unsworth called it a ‘PR stunt’ during a television interview. In response, Musk labelled Unsworth a ‘pedo guy’ in a tweet to his 22 million Twitter followers (above)
This is the second time in less than a year that Musk’s free-wheeling comments on Twitter have saddled him with legal headaches.
Last year, Musk and Tesla reached a $40million settlement of allegations that he misled investors with a tweet declaring he had secured financing for a buyout of the electric car maker.
He then had to go to court earlier this year to defend himself against assertions that he had violated an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission about his tweeting.
DailyMail.com revealed on Thursday that Musk had tapped Robert Kraft’s lawyer Alex Spiro to defend him in his latest case.
The billionaire filed an application for the non-resident attorney to appear in his California-based case against Unsworth, according to court papers filed to the Southern District of New York on Wednesday.
Spiro, 36, is a high profile attorney and is currently representing Patriots owner Robert Kraft in a separate case after the 77-year-old was charged with solicitation after he allegedly payed for sex acts at a Florida massage parlor earlier this year.
Kraft has pleaded not guilty but issued a public apology for his actions.
This week, Spiro was accused by Florida prosecutors of lying during Kraft’s case and falsely alleging that a police officer confessed to fabricating a traffic violation to stop another massage parlor customer.
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed a motion asking Judge Leonard Hanser to hold Spiro and Kraft’s other lawyer William Burck in contempt and throw out their questioning of Jupiter police officer Scott Kimbark.
Spiro alleged in court that Kimbark said just before he pulled over a customer leaving the Orchids of Asia Day Spa just before Kraft that he did not need to witness a traffic infraction but would instead ‘make some s**t up’.
Prosecutors said that this was said to another officer at another time and in a completely different context, and claim that have the footage to back up their claim.
Spiro is also accused of telling Officer Kimbark during a recess in the trial: ‘I have a video of you saying stupid s**t.’
He then allegedly told Kimbark that if a fellow officer did not testify he would not use the tape.
‘It is abundantly clear that this ‘video’ was a reference to the imaginary clip of the officer talking about ‘making up shit’ – a video clip that does not exist,’ the motion states.
Source: Read Full Article