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Elon Musk faces trial on 'pedo' tweet

 Composite image of Vernon Unsworth and Elon Musk Image copyright

Image caption

Mr Musk (R) called British diver Mr Unsworth (L) "pedo guy"

Elon Musk must defend himself in court after calling a diver who helped save Thai schoolboys in a cave and pedophile, in Los Angeles judge says.

The federal court judge set on October 22 trial date. Musk is being sued by Vern Unsworth, who helped rescue the 1[ads1]2 boys from Thailand's Tham Luang caves.

The Tesla boss called Mr Unsworth a "pedo" in a Twitter post after the Briton said Mr Musk's attempt to help in the rescue was a "PR stunt."

Why has this come to court?

Mr Unsworth helped recruit experienced UK cave divers, who were instrumental in freeing the boys who had become stuck in the cave due to rising water levels in July 2018

While efforts were ongoing, Mr Musk sent engineers from his Tesla company and a small submarine to Thailand to help free the boys. It was never used.

In an interview with CNN, Mr Unsworth called Mr Musk's efforts in "publicity stunt."

Responding in a series of tweets, Mr Musk elaborated on how the submarine might work and referred to Mr Unsworth as "pedo guy."

Mr Musk soon apologized and deleted the offending tweets, saying he had acted "in anger".

  • Who is Elon Musk?
  • The Thai cave rescue: What happened next? ] But he reignited the row in September.

    In an email to a Buzzfeed reporter, he implored the journalist to "find out what's actually going on" and suggested the diver had taken part in the cave rescue.

    Unsworth is seeking at least $ 75,000 (£ 57,700) in compensation plus punitive damages in his September 2018 lawsuit.

    Image caption

    Vern Unsworth (R) helped bring top international cave rescuers to the mission, including Rob Harper (L)

    The suit also seeks a court order for Mr. Musk from making any further disparaging comments.

    He said the Tesla chief executive defeated him with "unlawful, unsupportable and reprehensible accusations", according to court documents.

    In seeking a dismissal, Mr Musk's lawyers argued the comments were "imaginative" or "over-the-top" in the heat of the moment that were protected under the US First Amendment.

    But the judge said Mr. Musk was not communicating in "heated and volatile" settings that might explain any excesses.

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