Elon Musk will testify in his own defence at a defamation case brought against him for calling a British cave diver a “paedo guy”.
Vernon Unsworth was involved in the rescue of a trapped Thai boys football team in 2018, which led to an unlikely row between the cave diver and the Tesla founder.
Unsworth accused Musk of grandstanding when the billionaire tried to build a mini-submarine to help rescuers access the boys.
Unsworth said it was a “PR stunt” and Musk responded by calling him a “pedo guy” on Twitter.
Musk’s defamation trial will begin on 3 December at the Los Angeles Federal Court.
Speaking at pre-trial hearings, the billionaire’s lawyer Alexander Spiro said: “Evidence is going to be through Mr. Musk (testifying) that in fact Mr. Musk didn’t call him a paedophile.
“Mr. Musk deleted the tweet, apologised and moved on.”
Musk apologised for the “pedo guy” comment and said it was a comment insult in South Africa, where he grew up, and didn’t think it would be taken as a comment about paedophilia.
Unsworth is also set to testify at the trial, according to his attorney L. Lin Wood.
Wood said at the pre-trial that Unsworth would provide evidence of damages by “talking about his worries, his anxieties, his concern by being branded a pedophile”.
Musk claims that the Wood became a public figure as a part of the rescue of the Thai boys, meaning that it is more difficult to prove defamation and that “actual malice” needs to be shown.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson rejected the claim in pre-trial hearings.
Unsworth is seeking punitive and monetary damages.