Tesla co-founder Elon Musk was cleared of defamation on Friday by a jury in Los Angeles over a tweet wherein he labeled a British caver “pedo man.”
The jury deliberated lower than an hour earlier than ruling in favor of Musk and clearing him of any legal responsibility within the high-profile case that pitted him in opposition to Vernon Unsworth.
Unsworth had sought $190 million in damages from the tech billionaire, arguing that his popularity had been broken by the tweet.
Musk hugged his lawyer on listening to the decision, telling reporters afterwards: “My religion in humanity has been restored.”
Unsworth’s lawyer, Lin Wooden, had informed jurors in closing arguments that the $190 million he was in search of for his consumer would quantity to “a tough slap on the wrist” for Musk and would stop him “from ever planting a nuclear bomb within the lifetime of one other particular person.”
Describing the 48-year-old entrepreneur as a “billionaire bully,” Wooden mentioned Unsworth was a person of modest means whose life had been upended by the much-publicized row.
Musk’s outburst in opposition to Unsworth adopted an interview wherein the 64-year-old caver dismissed Musk’s supply of a mini-submarine to rescue younger soccer gamers trapped in a collapse Thailand in July 2018.
Unsworth on the time mentioned Musk’s supply was nothing however a PR stunt — a declare he maintained throughout the trial — and had advised he “stick his submarine the place it hurts.”
In courtroom testimony, Musk mentioned the “pedo man” tweet he shared along with his 22 million followers was a casual insult and didn’t imply he was accusing Unsworth — a monetary marketing consultant who splits his time between Britain and Thailand — of being a pedophile.
He apologized on Twitter for his outburst and once more throughout his testimony.
He insisted throughout questioning that he was merely reacting to Unsworth’s “unprovoked” feedback and claimed that “pedo man” was a time period extensively utilized in South Africa, the place he grew up.
Musk’s lawyer Alex Spiro informed jurors in his closing argument Friday that the case boils right down to “an argument between two folks,” and argued that Unsworth was attempting to revenue from the row.
“This was simply an insult,” Spiro mentioned. “Plaintiff is taking a kind of insults and placing it within the highlight.”
The lawyer insisted that it was Unsworth who picked a battle and his consumer had merely pushed again with a tweet he later regretted.
“Elon Musk would not like that tweet, shareholders do not just like the tweet, Elon Musk’s mother would not just like the tweet,” Spiro mentioned whereas underlining that nowhere was the phrase pedophile talked about particularly.
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