ELON MUSK will not sue the British cave diver he called a “pedo guy” after a US jury ruled he was not liable in a defamation case over the Twitter spat.
The Tesla co-founder will not sue Vernon Unsworth for court costs after the cave explorer agreed not to seek a retrial in the £145m ($190m) defamation case, the Daily Mail reports. Mr Musk was cleared last week after calling Mr Unsworth “pedo guy” on Twitter following the dramatic Thailand cave rescue of 12 boys and their football coach in July 2018.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour following the four-day trial at a federal court in California.
Speaking after the verdict was announced, Mr Musk said: “My faith in humanity is restored.”
Mr Unsworth said he would “take it on the chin”.
He added: “I respect the jury’s decision. I’d just like to say my legal team have been absolutely awesome.
“I came here for a verdict, unfortunately it’s not gone the way I expected but I respect the jury’s decision and thank them for that.”
Mr Unsworth’s UK lawyer Mark Stephens accused Mr Musk of being a “bullying billionaire”.
He said: “We came here because Mr Musk said ‘sue or true’.
“We came here, we sued today, we sued this week and where we have got to is finally today Mr Spiro, with Mr Musk sitting at his side, admitted that the allegations he made were untrue.
“And it is a pity that a bullying billionaire has been able to cast such a long shadow and I just hope that nobody else has to go through and go toe-to-toe with Mr Musk again.
“He’s obviously put an enormous amount of resources into it.”
Lin Wood, the lawyer who represented Mr Unsworth throughout the trial, added: “Regardless of the verdict, the message is loud and clear: It was a false allegation. This is a good man.
“I’m unhappy with the verdict because I think he deserved a different brand of justice.
“But he had the courage to come to this country where Elon Musk lives and accept his challenge, he sued him. It’s not true.”
Mr Usworth and Mr Musk both gave evidence during the trial.
Asked by his lawyer how he felt after seeing Mr Musk’s tweet, the 64-year-old cave diver said: “It feels very raw. I feel humiliated. Ashamed. Dirtied.
“From day one I was given a life sentence without parole. And at times I feel very vulnerable, it hurts to even talk about it.”
Mr Usworth, who first travelled to Thailand in 2011, added that the Twitter post was “very hurtful”.
He said: “I find it disgusting. I find it very hard to even read the word, never mind talk about.”
He said as a result of the tweet his name is “tagged with being a paedophile”.
But Mr Musk insisted the phrase “pedo guy” was commonly used in South Africa, where he grew up, and meant “creepy old guy” and not that Mr Unsworth was a paedophile.
His lawyer, Alex Spiro, said if people had received “pedo guy” as an allegation, Mr Unsworth would have been shunned by society, instead of meeting politicians, invited to speak at events and awarded an MBE.
Mr Spiro said there has been “not one” person to say they interpreted Mr Musk’s tweet as an allegation.
He added: “This was obviously an opinion, an insult, not a statement accusing you of a crime. No responsible reader would conclude you were accused of a sexual act of a child.”