LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Tesla, Inc. boss, Elon Musk, the victor on Friday in a closely watched defamation trial, when a federal district court jury quickly rejected the $190 million claim against him by a British cave explorer, of which Musk was branded a “pedo guy” on Twitter.
It is the unanimous opinion of a panel of five women and three men returned after about 45 minutes of the end of the debate, on the fourth day, the Musk and the taste. Legal experts believe that this was the first major libel lawsuit brought by a private individual, regarding the comments on Twitter are to be decided by a panel of judges.
The result was a triumph for the Musk, one of which is the mercurial behavior in a number of cases in the last year, it came under the close scrutiny of federal regulators and the shareholders of Tesla are Silicon Valley-based electric car manufacturer.
The decision of the jury, a signal from a higher legal threshold for a challenging, potentially libelous Twitter comments, said L. Lin Wood, the high-profile trial lawyer who led the legal team for the plaintiff, and Vernon Unsworth.
“This decision puts everyone’s reputation at risk,” Wood told reporters after the verdict was announced.
Lawyers who specialize in defamation, agreed with the statement shows how the freewheeling nature of social media, it has changed its views on what is the difference between slander is punishable in a court of a casual type of rhetoric and hyperbole is protected as freedom of speech and expression.
Musky, 48, who testified during the first day of the trial in his own defense, and then went back to the court on Friday to hear the closing arguments, outside the courtroom after the verdict and said: “My faith in humanity has been restored.”
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“JUST TAKE IT ON THE CHIN’
Outside the court, Unsworth, 64, said he was down to his defeat. “I accept the jury’s verdict, that is, on the chin and get on with my life.”
Wood said that his client went “toe-to-toe with a billionaire bully,” an echo of a sentence in his summation before the court, and gave it to journalists who have a job, it is open to question.
“It’s not a decision that we wanted to be. However, it is at the end of the road, and we have to close this chapter,” Wood said.
He told me that he saw, however, how the court proceedings as a useful tool to help clear the stain, he said he was Unsworth’s reputation suffered.
During the course of the trial, Musk testified, under oath, that his use of the word “pedo guy” – slang for a pedophile, it was never meant to be taken literally, and that he apologized to Unsworth to comment on the witness stand.
The case arises out of a public spat between Musk and Unsworth, a British diver, who has lived part-time in Thailand, and gained fame for his leading role in the co-ordination of the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their football coach, in a flooded cave-in in July of 2018.
Unsworth had been scolded Musk, in an interview with CNN to deliver a mini-submarine, which has never been used, it is the site of Tham Luang, Nang Non is a cave system. Unsworth referred to as Musk’s intervention as a “P. R.” stunt, ” saying that the high-tech entrepreneur needs to stick to his submarine, where it hurts.”
FILE PHOTO, SpaceX owner, and Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, speaks at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles, California, USA, 13 June, 2019 at the latest. REUTERS/Mike BlakeTHREE TWEETS
Musk responded two days later, on Twitter, three of the messages that became the basis of the defamation case. The first question Unsworth’s role in the rescue, while the second one said, “I’m Sorry pedo-man, you should really be asking for it.”
In the third tweet, in response to a follower who asked Musk about the second tweet, saying, “Bet ya have to have a signed dollar, it’s not true.”
Wood is said to be during the amount of Musk’s tweets were related to an “atomic bomb” that would have been mercy Unsworth, the relationships, and the job prospects for the coming years, and urged the jury to learn of our chief executive and SpaceX founder member of a class, the award of Unsworth to $190 million, including $150 million in punitive damages.
Two days earlier, under questioning on the witness stand, Musk had estimated his net worth at $20 billion.
However, the jury was apparently swayed by the arguments put forward by Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said that the tweet in question was an off-hand insult, in the midst of an argument, and that it could not be expected to be taken seriously.
“The arguments that offend people,” he said. “Not a single bomb went off.”
The defense also said Unsworth failed to show any damages from the Twitter comments, and even tried to profit from his role in the rescue, which won him a round of applause from the Thai and British governments.
U. s. District court Judge, Stephen Wilson, said the case hinged on the question of whether a reasonable person would assume Musk’s Twitter statements mean that he was actually calling Unsworth is a pedophile.
In order to win this, Unsworth is necessary in order to show that Musc was negligent in publishing the falsehood that is clearly identified by the applicant, and give him the damage it causes. “Actual malice” in Mandarin, it is, in part, to a very high standard in defamation cases, it does not have to be proved, as the court is of the opinion Unsworth, a private individual, not a public figure.
Slide Show (9 Images)
In the process, breathed new life into the discussion of the Musk, is the erratic behaviour in the 2018 and beyond, when he used Twitter to float on a leveraged buy-out proposed for Tesla, which was sunk, eventually, to the payment of a $20 million settlement of a Securities and Exchange Commission’s complaint.
For the majority of 2019, Musk, who has almost 30 million followers on Twitter, and has largely kept his comments from the public on its new models, and improved economics and technical advances of air and space travel company SpaceX.
Additional reporting by Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; and Jonathan Stempel in New York and Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Bill Tarrant, Grant McCool and Sonya Hepinstall