A Uk diver would like $190m (£145m) damages from Elon Musk for a tweet contacting him “pedo person”, a US court has read.
Vernon Unsworth, who helped rescue 12 boys trapped in a Thai cave final 12 months, is suing Mr Musk for defamation.
He asked a jury in a Los Angeles federal courtroom to award him $150m in punitive damages, as nicely as $40m for assumed and precise damages.
Mr Unsworth’s law firm Lin Wood mentioned the award would be a “tough slap on the wrist” for the Tesla co-founder.
Contacting Mr Musk, forty eight, a “billionaire bully” in his closing statement, Mr Wooden instructed the court that his client’s modest lifestyle had been upended by the extremely public row.
“He dropped a nuclear bomb on Vernon Unsworth,” he explained, adding that the “fallout” would effects on him for the rest of his existence.
Mr Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, responded that the tweets ended up the result of an argument among the two adult men.
“In arguments you insult men and women,” Mr Spiro claimed. “There is no bomb. No bomb went off.”
How did the row commence?
The case of the Thai boys, members of a football group who were trapped deep inside of a cave in northern Thailand, captured the world’s awareness in June 2018.
Mr Unsworth, a 64-calendar year-outdated seasoned cave explorer, splits his time in between the United kingdom and Thailand. In the course of the rescue, he served recruit skilled cave divers who have been instrumental in freeing the boys safely.
Mr Musk despatched Tesla engineers and a little submarine to assistance with the Thai rescue effort and hard work, but it was in no way used.
Rather, he and Mr Unsworth got into a public war of phrases immediately after the diver dismissed the provide of help.
Mr Unsworth labelled the submarine a “PR stunt”, and in the course of an interview with CNN recommended the billionaire “stick his submarine exactly where it hurts”.
Mr Musk, who has 22 million followers, responded with a series of tweets about Mr Unsworth – including just one contacting him “pedo dude”, which has since been deleted.
What has been claimed in court so significantly?
Testifying over two times on Tuesday and Wednesday, Mr Musk told the courtroom he did not anticipate the “pedo” tweet to be taken actually.
He said that at the time he believed Mr Unsworth was “just some random creepy male” who was “unrelated to the rescue”.
Mr Musk apologised on Twitter and in courtroom for his outburst. He also reported the term “pedo guy” was a typical insult in South Africa, exactly where he grew up.
Contesting this, Mr Wooden cited an additional now-deleted tweet the billionaire sent to his followers indicating: “Bet ya a signed dollar it truly is accurate.”
Then, in an electronic mail exchange with a Buzzfeed reporter who contacted him for remark on the danger of legal motion by Mr Unsworth, Mr Musk claimed: “Quit defending boy or girl rapists.”
On Thursday, Mr Unsworth informed the court docket that Mr Musk’s tweet still left him emotion “humiliated”.
Courtroom reporters stated the diver appeared on the verge of tears as he informed jurors: “It feels pretty uncooked. I come to feel humiliated. Ashamed. Dirtied. Successfully, from working day 1, I was provided a lifestyle sentence without parole. It hurts to discuss about it.”
He included: “I discover it disgusting. I locate it pretty hard to even examine the term, never thoughts chat about.”