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 referred to as Mr Unsworth a “pedo” in a Twitter publish after the Briton mentioned Mr Musk’s try to assist in the rescue was a “PR stunt”.
Why has this come to court docket?
Mr Unsworth helped recruit skilled UK cave divers, who have been instrumental in releasing the boys who had turn into caught within the cave attributable to rising water ranges in July 2018.
Whereas efforts have 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 referred to as Mr Musk’s efforts a “publicity stunt”.
Responding in a sequence of tweets, Mr Musk elaborated on how the submarine may 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 electronic mail to a Buzzfeed reporter, he implored the journalist to “discover out what’s truly occurring” and recommended the diver had taken no half within the cave rescue.
Mr Unsworth is searching for not less than $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 mentioned the Tesla chief government defamed him with “illegal, unsupportable and reprehensible accusations”, based on court docket paperwork.
In searching for a dismissal, Mr Musk’s legal professionals argued the feedback have been “imaginative” or “over-the-top” insults within the warmth of the second that have been protected below the US First Modification.
However the choose mentioned Mr Musk was not speaking in “heated and unstable” settings that may clarify any excesses.