Stirring up controversy from last summer, Musk’s request to throw out a defamation lawsuit, filed by Caver, is rebuffed by the federal judge this Monday. Now Musk has to face a trial in December for calling Caver a “pedo guy.”
On Monday in Los Angeles, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled that the jury has to decide whether Musk was negligent in checking if his alleged tweets and emails were true. After the hearing, both Musk’s and Vernon Unsworth’s lawyers added their two cents.
Unsworth’s lawyer, Lin Wood, said that despite any negligence, actual malice accounts for an explanation. He included that Unsworth has to present a preponderance of evidence before the jury that will roll the dice in Caver’s favor.
An attorney for Musk, Alex Spiro, had a lot to say on this judge ruling. He snarly added that Musk looks forward to the trial, and it is highly understandable that “Unsworth would like to milk his 15 minutes of fame.”
The feud started between Musk and Unsworth last year when the caver shared his remarks about Musk’s mini-submarine idea in a CNN interview. According to Unsworth, Musk’s idea to help rescue a group of boys trapped in a Thailand cave was nothing more than a “PR stunt.”
As a response, Musk called Unsworth a “pedo guy” and a “sus” in his tweets, which were shortly deleted. This invited a lot of trouble for Musk as #VernUnsworth dragged public attention and support for the Caver.
However, Musk did not leave it here and called Unsworth a pedophile in an email sent to a BuzzFeed reporter, Ryan Mac.
Apparently, after having the public spat with Caver through Tweets, Musk hired a private investigator to dig up dirt from Unsworth’s past, as indicated by the court documents. However, the investigator turned out to be a convicted felon.
Musk accused Unsworth of marrying a 12-year-old girl in Thailand and called him a “child rapist” in the email to Mac. Caver opposed this allegation and stressed that this is not what the private investigator told Musk. Unsworth added that his wife was 32 when he met her in London.
Judge Wilson was not convinced by arguments propounded by Robert Schwartz, Musk’s attorney, at Monday’s hearing. Wilson remarked: “You’re saying his being a pedophile is germane to the issue whether Musk had sincere motivation. That seems a bit of stretch.”
So, what is in store for Musk and Unsworth? To find out, follow case Unsworth v. Musk, 18-cv-8048, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).