By on October 8, 2019

Elon Musk

If you’ve grudgingly followed the unseamly goings-ons in the defamation case filed against Tesla CEO Elon Musk by a British cave diver, things just took a turn. Documents filed to a California federal court this week by Vernon Unsworth’s lawyers reveal a plotline worthy of a better-than-average sitcom.

In stating their client’s side of the story, Unsworth’s legal team showcased communications from from Musk, in which the CEO expressed regret for calling the cave diver “pedo guy” on Twitter and sending accusatory emails to a Buzzfeed reporter. It also seems that the private eye Musk hired to dig up dirt on Unsworth is a convicted fraudster who’s now back in jail for parole violation.

Calling Musk a “thin-skinned billionaire” who attacked their client for criticizing Musk’s homemade submarine (an element of the Thai trapped-kids saga in which Unsworth played a key role), Unsworth’s legal team laid out evidence that their client did not marry a 12-year-old child bride — and that Musk knew it. The team hopes to collect $75,000 from Musk, plus punitive damages, clearing Unsworth’s name in the process.

The court document, posted by Buzzfeed, includes choice bits of communication between Musk and various outsiders, including an email to a PR consultant in which he calls himself a “fucking idiot” for embarking down this path.

The so-called P.I., James Howard-Higgins, allegedly contacted Musk out of the blue and offered to dig into Unsworth’s past. Unsworth’s lawyers cite evidence showing that the P.I told Musk that Unsworth’s Thai partner was at least 18 or 19 when they met, but Musk still emailed a reporter later that day to claim the British diver had married a 12-year-old. Unsworth’s team says he met his partner, Woranan “Tik” Ratrawiphukkun, in 2011 when she was 32.

Musk told the PR consultant that telling the reporter the story about the 12-year-old “was still one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done.” For his work, Musk paid Howard-Higgins $52,000, offering a $10,000 bonus if he uncovered real dirt. Musk is also alleged to have asked the P.I.’s help in leaking negative stories about Unsworth to media in Australia and the UK.

In another email, Musk claimed he could see why the homemade submarine looked like a “narcissistic PR stunt.”

Speaking of, the document claims that during the rescue of the trapped Thai soccer team, Musk and company were busying themselves in a little PR work of themselves, attempting to get a Thai regional governor to withdraw a statement that Musk’s submarine wouldn’t work.

As we’ve stated before, it’s interesting to learn the type of person who’s behind your favorite car. Musk, in the meantime, is attempting to have the suit dropped.

[Image: Tesla]

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