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Elon Musk Found Not Liable in Defamation Case Over 'Pedo Guy' Tweet

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A federal jury in Los Angeles on Friday found Tesla Inc founder Elon Musk not liable in a defamation case filed by British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth. In his tweet last summer, Musk called Unsworth a "pedo guy."

“My faith in humanity is restored,” Musk said in court following the verdict, CNBC reported.

On Friday, the court agreed with the defense that Unsworth had not shown proof of harm from Musk's tweet and that Musk should not be held liable for his remark. In his testimony this week, Musk apologized to Unsworth in July for his comments.

The defamation case began in September last year after Unsworth saved Thai schoolboys trapped in a flooded Thailand cave in July 2018.

Musk and his team came up with a concept of a mini-submarine that could be used in a rescue operation. In an interview with CNN, Unsworth called the idea “a PR stunt” and added that the tech visionary “could stick his submarine where it hurts."

Following the interview, Musk called Unsworth a "pedo guy" on Twitter, which prompted the cave explorer to file a lawsuit again Musk demanding that he pay at least $190 million for defaming him on Twitter.

​According to CNBC, Musk also called Unsworth a "child rapist" in correspondences with Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Mac. In August 2018, Musk tweeted, "Don't you think it's strange he [Unsworth] hasn't sued me?" 

Musk, who grew up in South Africa said “pedo guy” is commonly used in South Africa to refer to a “creepy old man'' and not literally a "pedophile." He also noted that he used the common affront instinctively after Unsworth insulted him. Musk's tweet has since been deleted.

In his July apology, Musk said, "His [Unsworth's] actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone."

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