Last July, British cave diver Vernon Unsworth helped rescue 12 teenage footballers trapped in a cave in Thailand. Tesla founder Elon Musk has made multiple allegations against Unsworth, including calling him a “child rapist,” after his rescue equipment was not used.
Unsworth subsequently filed a defamation lawsuit against him. Los Angeles District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson rejected Elon Musk’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit.
Musk argued that his statement was merely an insult that did not constitute a fact, and Musk said Unsworth was already a public figure after participating in a high-profile rescue, with a higher threshold for defamation and a need for “real malice” to prove it.
But the judge said Unsworth remained an ordinary man and ordered the jury trial to begin on December 3.