A US jury has ruled that Elon Musk did not defame a British caver who helped in last year’s rescue of trapped Thai schoolboys by calling him a “pedo guy”.
Vernon Unsworth sought $190m (£145m) in damages from the billionaire on the grounds that the tweet had damaged his reputation.
It came amid a public row between the wo over the rescue of 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand last summer.
Musk defended his remarks and told the court “pedo guy” was common in South Africa where he grew up.
After the jury found him not guilty, Musk said: “My faith in humanity is restored.”
Unsworth’s lawyer Lin Wood criticised the decision, saying it was “not a good verdict for society”.
“This verdict sends a signal, and one signal only – that you can make any accusation you want to, as vile as it may be and as untrue as it may be, and somebody can get away with it,” he said.
Unsworth thanked his legal team and said he “respected the jury’s decision” even though it had “not gone the way I expected”.
The verdict was unanimous and it took the jurors under an hour to reach it following the four-day trial in Los Angeles.
Jury foreman Joshua Jones reportedly said Unsworth’s legal team should have focused on the evidence that he had been defamed rather than trying to pull on their emotions.