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Court Wants Musk to Explain Calling Rescuer a Pedophile

Judge orders trial in diver's defamation suit
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2019 9:49 AM CDT
Elon Musk has been summoned to a Los Angeles court.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

(Newser) – A tweet calling a British rescuer a "pedo" has earned Elon Musk a day in court. A federal judge has ordered a trial in the lawsuit filed by a diver involved in saving 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand last July. Vern Unsworth helped recruit fellow British divers for the rescue, the BBC reports. Musk dispatched a small submarine and engineers from Tesla to help save members of a soccer team who were caught by rising water levels in the cave. Musk's contributions weren't used, and Unsworth told CNN at the time that Musk's effort was a "PR stunt." In a series of tweets about the rescue, Musk called Unsworth "pedo guy."

Musk might have avoided a trial if he'd left it at a single tweet, the judge said. Instead, the judge said, Musk "made follow-up statements indicating that he believed his statements to be true." Those statements include emails to BuzzFeed that added specific accusations against Unsworth, per the Verge. Unsworth's defamation lawsuit seeks more than $75,000 in damages. The trial is scheduled for Oct. 22 in federal court in Los Angeles. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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