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Elon Musk wins ‘pedo guy’ defamation case

Elon Musk wins ‘pedo guy’ defamation case

A Los Angeles jury found that the Tesla founder Elon Musk did not defame British cave diver Vernon Unsworth by calling him a “pedo guy” in a heated Twitter exchange.

The jury returned its verdict on Friday afternoon after a four-day trial in which Musk testified for six hours.

Unsworth sued Musk in September 2018 for defamation, claiming in testimony that if he didn’t sue, people would take the allegation as true.

“When Elon Musk tweets something, it goes around the world,” his attorney added. “It can never be deleted.”

The attorney, L. Lin Wood, said in closing arguments that Musk’s suggestion that his client, Vernon Unsworth, was a pedophile was like a “nuclear bomb” that will affect his relationships and job prospects for years to come, and that jurors should teach the “billionaire bully” a lesson.

Wood requested $190 million in damages — which dwarf a $75,000 demand found in the original suit. The request, if approved, would have consisted of $5 million in actual damages, $35 million in assumed damages and at least $150 million in punitive damages.

But the suit turned on whether “pedo guy” was a generic insult or a literal accusation of being a pedophile.

Defamation law requires that a reasonable person assumes the insult is as literally true, whereas Musk’s attorneys argued that “pedo guy” just meant a “creepy old man.”

Unsworth said from the stand he felt obliged to sue Musk for defamation because, otherwise, people would take the allegation as true.

“When Elon Musk tweets something, it goes around the world,” his attorney added. “It can never be deleted.”


Source : Richard Morgan Link