Are They Selling Tickets? Elon Musk Set to Testify in Cave/Sub/Tweet Trial
The unfathomably boneheaded and childlike series of events that culminated in the defamation lawsuit against Tesla CEO Elon Musk are well-covered on these digital pages, but the results of that suit will soon become clear.
Musk plans to testify in his own defense in a trial scheduled to begin on Dec. 3, Reuters reports. If seats in the public gallery were available online, this writer would slap $100 down on one in a heartbeat.
If you somehow missed this grimy ongoing saga, it boils down to this: A British cave diver named Vernon Unsworth helped the Thai military organize the rescue of a Thai soccer team from a flooded cave. In the background, Musk built a homemade submarine from old rocket parts and offered it as a solution. That offer was rejected. Following a successful conventional rescue, Unsworth trash-talked Musk’s sub, and Musk responded by calling him “pedo guy” on social media, doubling down on the allegation when questioned by a reporter.
A con artist posing as a private eye then passed off bogus information to Musk in exchange for a nice payday. Unsworth provided evidence that the claims against him were untrue. The defamation suit came into being, attempts by Musk to have the suit dismissed met a brick wall, and here we are.
According to Reuters, Musk’s lawyer said in a U.S. District Court in California on Monday that Musk will speak in his own defence when the trial begins.
“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,” said attorney Alexander Spiro.
The actual events were not so simple, nor did they occur over a brief time period. Musk was not immediately contrite. In an email to a BuzzFeed News reporter sent after the fateful tweet, he insinuated that Unsworth’s presence in Thailand had everything to do with the prevalence of child prostitution in that country. Musk’s defence until now has been that, being raised in South Africa, he didn’t know what “pedo guy” implied to Western, English-speaking audiences. When attempting to have the suit tossed out, Musk’s legal team claimed Unsworth was a public figure, and thus he needed to prove “actual malice.”
U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson shot down the notion that Unsworth was a public figure by way of his involvement in the rescue and subsequent lawsuit. Now, Unsworth just has to prove that Musk acted negligently in calling him a “pedo” on the world stage.
Unsworth’s layer, L. Lin Wood, told the court that his client will provide evidence of damages, and will speak to “his worries, his anxieties, his concern by being branded a pedophile.”
Again, if only they offered tickets…