BEIJING, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — Lawyers for Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday that his client has no intention of settling a defamation lawsuit filed by British diver Vernon Unsworth. The trial will begin on December 3. Onsworth accused Musk of calling himself a “paedophile” in a tweet.
In a youth rescue operation in Thailand last July, Musk proposed a small submarine program. In an interview with CNN, however, Mr. Onsworth criticized Mr. Musk’s plan as a gimmick.
On Tuesday, after a pre-trial hearing in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, was asked if Musk would settle the lawsuit before a civil trial, to which he replied, “No.” “
The defamation lawsuit is one of Musk’s last outstanding issues. Musk went through a turbulent period in 2018 and early this year. During this time, he alarmed Tesla shareholders about Twitter’s use and personal behavior and came under pressure from regulators.
Lawyers for Musk and Onsworth completed a second day of arguments on Tuesday around the evidence used in next week’s trial. U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson said the debate would continue next Monday before he makes a written ruling.
Onsworth’s lawyer, L. Lin Wood, wanted to use a series of emails Musk sent to Buzzfeed last August as evidence. In one of the emails, Musk told reporters, “Don’t defend a child rapist anymore.” Last week, Onsworth’s legal team withdrew Buzzfeed’s emails from a defamation lawsuit based on only four tweets Musk posted last July. But Mr Wood said he wanted to use the emails as a secondary piece of evidence to prove Mr Musk’s “mentality” when he tweeted.
Musk has apologised for his “paedophile” comments, saying it was a common slur in his native South Africa and that he didn’t really want to say that Onsworth was a paedophile.
Musk testifies in court.
Spiro said their desire to remove the emails from the trial did not mean Musk was trying to “cover up the evidence.” “But in our view, (the e-mail as evidence) was to add improper evidence to the trial, and the withdrawal of this evidence first and now added it could prejudice the jury in charge of the trial.” Spiro said.
Lawyers for both sides said Monday that both Musk and Onsworth will testify in the tit-for-tat trial. Musk will testify that he doesn’t really want to call Onsworth a paedophile. Musk deleted the tweet and apologized, no longer entangled in the matter. Spiro said.
Onsworth asked the court to sentence Musk to injury. Mr Wood said on Monday that Mr Onsworth would give evidence to reveal his concerns, anxieties and concerns after he was labeled a paedophile to prove his injuries.
Last week, Wilson rejected Musk’s request to dismiss the lawsuit and ruled that Onsworth was not a public figure, making it easier for Himvos to prove that Musk was slandering. If he can prove that Musk had no intention of making paedophile statements, he could win.