A Los Angeles judge on Monday rejected Elon Musk’s request to dismiss a defamation suit brought by a British cave diver, Bloomberg reported. The defamation lawsuit focused on a tweet in which Musk called diver Vernon Unsworth a “paedophile.” Musk also sent an email to BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Mac, which has become part of the case.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled that the jury would decide whether the tweets and emails were considered defamatory.
The disaster began with a rescue operation in Thailand, when a group of boys were trapped in a cave. Musk and some of his engineers built a miniature submarine and sent them to Thailand. In an interview with CNN, Unsworth called the mini-submarine a “PR stunt” and said Musk’s “submarine sits easily stuck in the hole.” In response, Musk sent several tweets, the last of which (now deleted) was, “Sorry, paedophile, you’re all looking for it.” “
Musk later apologized to Unsworth. A month later, however, he called Unsworth a “child rapist” in an email to Mac.
“I wish he could sue me,” Musk wrote in an email to Mac. And Unsworth did.
According to court documents filed earlier this month, it is clear that after the initial tweet, Musk hired a private investigator to investigate Unsworth’s past. But the private investigator was a convicted felon. In an email to Mac, Musk called Unsworth the husband of a 12-year-old child. According to Unsworth, he met his wife in London – when she was 32.