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Elon Musk could face defamation retrial

Elon Musk could face defamation retrial as Brit diver’s lawyer claims jury blundered.

Elon Musk could face a retrial in his defamation case after a lawyer for the Brit he branded “pedo guy” claimed the jury blundered.

The Tesla founder had a spat with diver Vernon Unsworth over the rescue of 12 boys trapped in a flooded Thai cave in June 2018.

Mr Unsworth made a claim for £145million in damages but Mr Musk was cleared on Friday.

Now the 64-year-old’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, claims post-verdict interviews with jurors show they decided the tycoon was not liable because he did not name Mr Unsworth in his tweet.

The Tesla founder had a spat with diver Vernon Unsworth over the rescue of 12 boys trapped in a flooded Thai cave in June 2018 (Image: AFC / SplashNews.com)

He claims they made a mistake that could set a dangerous precedent.

Mr Stephens said: “We all know jurors make mistakes on occasion.

“The jury has given leave and licence to allow anyone to make accusations of serious criminality without accountability.

“That is a serious problem. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a bullying billionaire or a penniless troll, that behaviour is ­destructive.”

British diver Vernon Unsworth (C) arrives for the first day of trial against Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at the United States Courthouse in Los Angeles, California (Image: CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA/EPA-EFE/REX)

Mr Stephens said they hope to file papers for a retrial by Christmas.

The row kicked off after rescuers refused Mr Musk’s offer to send a tiny submarine to the Thai cave system.

Mr Unsworth branded his gesture a “PR stunt”, telling him to “stick his submarine where it hurts”.

Mr Musk, 48, hit back with a series of tweets – one of them calling him “pedo guy”.

He told the court the phrase was common in South Africa, where he grew up.

But Mr Unsworth said the remarks were effectively “a life sentence without parole”.

 

 

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