Defamation trial over Elon Musk’s ‘pedo guy’ tweet begins

Tesla boss Elon Musk is set to go on trial on Tuesday after he described a British cave explorer who helped rescue a group of boys from a cave complex in Thailand as a pedophile on Twitter.

Vernon Unsworth, who played a leading role in the recovery of the 12 boys and their soccer coach from Tham Luang Nang Non cave in July 2018, has said Musk falsely labeled him a “pedo guy” on Twitter.

He says Musk, whose Twitter habits have long been under a microscope, should pay punitive and other damages for harming his reputation.

The trial before U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles is scheduled to last about five days. Musk is expected to testify in his own defense. He has apologized for the remark.

While the case does not involve Tesla, investors and regulators have expressed concerns about the accuracy of his tweets.

With 29.8 million followers, Musk‘s Twitter account is a major source of publicity for his Palo Alto, California-based electric car company, which does not advertise.

The Unsworth case is among the last issues hanging over Musk from a turbulent 2018 and early 2019, when he regularly clashed with Wall Street and short sellers as Tesla struggled with production problems.

The episode began after Musk offered a mini-submarine from his SpaceX rocket company to help with the cave rescue.

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