Elon Musk Ordered to Stand Trial in Cave Explorer’s Defamation Case
November 19, 2019
A federal judge delivered a pair of legal setbacks to the tech billionaire Elon Musk this week, rejecting Mr. Musk’s attempt to throw out a defamation lawsuit brought against him by a British cave explorer whom Mr. Musk had accused on Twitter of being a “pedo guy.”
The judge, Stephen V. Wilson in United States District Court in Los Angeles, also ruled that the explorer, Vernon Unsworth, was not a public figure — meaning the bar will be lower for him to prove defamation.
Judge Wilson ordered Monday that a jury trial begin on Dec. 3. He denied Mr. Musk’s argument that the case should be tossed because his statement, a shortened version of the word pedophile, was a throwaway insult not to be construed as fact.