Elon Musk should defend himself in court docket after calling a diver who helped save Thai schoolboys trapped in a cave a paedophile, a Los Angeles choose says.
The federal court docket choose set a 22 October trial date.
Mr Musk is being sued by Vern Unsworth, who helped rescue the 12 boys from Thailand’s Tham Luang caves.
The Tesla boss known as Mr Unsworth a “pedo” in a Twitter submit after the Briton stated Mr Musk’s try and assist in the rescue was a “PR stunt”.
Why has this come to court docket?
Mr Unsworth helped recruit skilled UK cave divers, who had been instrumental in releasing the boys who had turn into caught within the cave because of rising water ranges in July 2018.
Whereas efforts had been ongoing, Mr Musk despatched engineers from his Tesla firm and a small submarine to Thailand to assist free the boys. It was by no means used.
In an interview with CNN, Mr Unsworth known as Mr Musk’s efforts a “publicity stunt”.
Responding in a sequence of tweets, Mr Musk elaborated on how the submarine would possibly work and referred to Mr Unsworth as “pedo man”.
Mr Musk quickly apologised and deleted the offending tweets, saying he had acted “in anger”.
Who’s Elon Musk?
The Thai cave rescue: What occurred subsequent?
However he reignited the row in September.
In an e-mail to a Buzzfeed reporter, he implored the journalist to “discover out what’s really happening” and prompt the diver had taken no half within the cave rescue.
Mr Unsworth is looking for at the very least $75,000 (£57,700) in compensation plus punitive damages in his September 2018 lawsuit.
The swimsuit additionally seeks a court docket order stopping Mr Musk from making any additional disparaging feedback.
He stated the Tesla chief government defamed him with “illegal, unsupportable and reprehensible accusations”, in accordance with court docket paperwork.
In looking for a dismissal, Mr Musk’s legal professionals argued the feedback had been “imaginative” or “over-the-top” insults within the warmth of the second that had been protected underneath the US First Modification.
However the choose stated Mr Musk was not speaking in “heated and risky” settings which may clarify any excesses.