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Tuesday, 03 December 2019 14:49

Elon Musk on trial in U.S. for defamation over 'pedo guy' tweet

Written by Reuters
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) boss Elon Musk went on trial on Tuesday for alleged defamation in appearing to describe a British diver who helped rescue a group of boys from a flooded Thailand cave as a pedophile on Twitter.

Jury selection began in a Los Angeles federal courtroom to decide whether Musk, whose Twitter habits have long been under a microscope, owes Vernon Unsworth punitive and other damages for harming his reputation by calling him “pedo guy.”

Unsworth sued Musk in September 2018, two months after playing a leading role in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave.

Musk was not in the courtroom as prospective jurors were quizzed for possible bias, including whether they could be fair to billionaires, like Musk, or people who lived in Thailand, like Unsworth.

One man was quickly excused after saying he was interviewing for a job with Tesla, while two women were dismissed after saying they followed Musk’s tweets and could not be impartial.

The trial before U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson is scheduled to last about five days. Musk is expected to testify in his own defense.

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