Elon Musk defamation trial begins

Billionaire Elon Musk on Tuesday began his trial for alleged defamation after calling a British diver involved in the Thailand cave rescue last year “pedo guy” on Twitter.

Musk attended a federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles midday after jury selection, Reuters reported. The Tesla CEO will face trial to determine if he owes British diver Vernon Unsworth punitive damages for designating him a pedophile, which the diver has denied.

The trial in front of U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson, a Reagan appointee, is expected to last about five days, in which Musk is expected to testify in his defense, according to Reuters. The CEO has apologized, saying “pedo guy” is a common insult in his native South Africa.

Three jurors were dismissed because one was interviewing for a job at Tesla and another two said they follow Musk’s tweets and could not remain objective, according to the newswire.

Unsworth sued Musk in September 2018, two months after he assisted in the rescue of 12 boys and a soccer coach who were trapped in a cave in Thailand. Their altercation began when Musk volunteered to provide a mini-submarine from his Space X rocket company to help rescue the boys.