Elon Musk’s attorneys strain caver Unsworth for an apology

Towards the top of the lunch break, a courier arrived exterior the courtroom, holding two containers of Advil. The supply was acquired by Elon Musk’s protection crew. The courier requested for a reputation, and Michael Lifrak’s title was given. He had, actually, acquired the supply however had promptly gone again into the lawyer clubhouse room the place the protection’s attorneys have been discussing their technique.

The vast majority of the day was dedicated to a cross-examination of Vernon Unsworth, who had introduced the defamation swimsuit, by Invoice Value, a lawyer for Musk. Partly due to the type during which testimony should be launched, it was exhausting. I may hardly blame anybody for requiring headache drugs. After a protracted dialogue of Unsworth’s awards and honors, his media alternatives, what cash he might need anticipated to make, and when he separated from his spouse, we have been all fairly drained.

No apology forthcoming

After Unsworth had assisted within the rescue of a boys’ soccer crew and their coach from a cave system in Thailand, he gave an interview to CNN. He was requested about Musk, who had labored with a crew of SpaceX engineers to construct a minisub that could possibly be used to hold the boys out, as a sort of a plan B. Unsworth was dismissive of the minisub, saying that it was a “PR stunt” and Musk may “stick it the place it hurts.”

“I didn’t assault Elon Musk,” Unsworth stated. Then all of us watched the CNN video once more, in case anybody had forgotten it from yesterday and the day earlier than, once we additionally watched it.

Value targeted on the “PR stunt” a part of the interview. To be clear, it was not simply Unsworth expressing that opinion on the time, although Musk testified earlier that he’d discovered Unsworth’s interview particularly hurtful. Value requested if “PR stunt” was to speak that Musk wasn’t making an attempt to assist the youngsters. Sure, Unsworth stated.

“Don’t you discover that insulting?” Value requested.

“My insult was to the tube, to not Mr. Musk personally,” Unsworth stated. “I believed on the time it was a PR stunt.”

It might be fairly “cold-hearted” to make one thing like this as a PR stunt, moderately than to assist these children, Value steered. Unsworth stated he didn’t assume Musk was cold-hearted, however that it was a PR stunt. Subsequent, Value requested if after Unsworth’s time within the courtroom, and seeing the proof introduced about Musk’s involvement with the rescue, would Unsworth be keen to apologize for the “PR stunt” comment?

“My opinion is that it’s a PR stunt,” Unsworth stated. So Unsworth wasn’t keen to apologize to Musk? Unsworth stated he was “unsure how I have to apologize.”

Value moved on to a few of the particulars of the rescue we’d heard earlier than elsewhere. There have been no ensures that the process that in the end rescued the kids and their coach would achieve success; it had by no means been tried earlier than. So far as Unsworth was involved, nonetheless, it was the one plan.

SpaceX engineers had been on website, and Unsworth had even met one briefly. The engineer Unsworth had met was actually surveying to attempt to discover one other entrance to the cave. Value requested if that was a PR stunt. “I wasn’t conscious of what [the engineer] was there for,” Unsworth stated. Unsworth wasn’t even positive he’d spoken to the engineer face-to-face, so Value introduced out Unsworth’s deposition the place he stated he’d met the engineer for lower than 5 minutes.

We then went exhaustively by means of the assorted considerations individuals had concerning the eventually-successful rescue plan, which I’ll spare you as a result of it was very boring. We’d heard testimony earlier that the minisub was constructed as a sort of plan B. In any case that, Value requested Unsworth if it was nonetheless his opinion that Musk’s effort was a PR stunt. “It’s, sure,” Unsworth stated.

A prolific texter

We then moved on to the “requested to depart in a short time” portion of the CNN interview, which was an announcement of reality — and based mostly on the testimony I heard in courtroom, a false one. Unsworth stated that the idea of that remark was primarily gossip, and he couldn’t establish anybody particularly who had instructed it to him. Additionally, there had been an order that solely rescuers have been allowed into the cave on the rescue days, Unsworth stated. Value requested if Unsworth knew now that it wasn’t true that Musk had been requested to depart. Unsworth stated “I don’t know that.”

Value then stated that Unsworth had been investigating Musk after the lawsuit was filed. Textual content messages have been introduced up — Unsworth doesn’t tweet however is outwardly a prolific texter — the place one in every of Unsworth’s buddies instructed him a Thai official had gone with Musk into the cave and that the 2 have been there for a minimum of an hour.

Value requested if Unsworth had stated something in his texts about emotional misery. “I can’t recall,” Unsworth stated. For a couple of minutes, it appeared like Unsworth was going to must learn a minimum of 100 pages of his personal texts to reply to the query, which elevated the probability I used to be going to have to increase my resort keep, change my flight, and apologize to my boyfriend for making him cancel our dinner reservation this weekend. Mercifully, Unsworth’s lawyer, L. Lin Wooden stipulated that there was no reference to any emotional grief within the texts.

We then heard that Unsworth had spent an infinite period of time with attorneys. How lengthy? “Probably days, many hours.” Value requested if Unsworth had met with a jury advisor, a query that Wooden objected to. The objection was sustained.

We have been then proven a video clip of Unsworth saying, earlier than he’d employed attorneys, that he felt he’d been referred to as a pedophile. “No additional remark about him [Musk], however I feel individuals acknowledge what sort of man he’s,” Unsworth stated within the video. He additionally stated he was contemplating authorized motion. Value requested if the assertion “individuals acknowledge what sort of man he’s” meant that Unsworth knew it was an insult and nobody would imagine that Unsworth was a pedophile. Unsworth stated he was merely expressing how he felt about Musk.

There was then a protracted and tedious exploration of the assorted honors Unsworth had been given, in nice element, in each the UK and Thailand. Images of Unsworth smiling whereas being honored have been proven. “Nothing Mr. Musk tweeted received in the best way of any honor,” Value stated. Unsworth identified he didn’t know what honors he hadn’t been given.


Then, inexplicably, it was time to debate Unsworth’s public-facing Instagram account. It was public a minimum of partially as a result of Unsworth testified that he doesn’t perceive the platform. Anyway, a photograph of Unsworth’s again, coated in crimson welts, was proven to the courtroom, with the caption “NFTFH” which apparently means “not for the faint-hearted.” I assume this was supposed to color Unsworth as a braggart, however to me, this largely steered that Value wasn’t that acquainted with Instagram, both. (Simply as the purpose of Twitter is posting with out turning into The Main Character, the purpose of Instagram is exhibiting off.)

The following line of questioning Value pursued needed to do with whether or not Unsworth had claimed to threat his life in the course of the rescue. “I had not made any claims to bodily risking my life,” Unsworth stated. In line with Value, somebody purporting to be Unsworth’s agent had.

Value then went again to Unsworth’s texts. First, we noticed one the place Unsworth stated he’d instructed movie corporations to “piss off” for not providing him any cash to be interviewed. Then we noticed a textual content the place Unsworth referred to as the Thai Navy Seals “kwai,” a Thai phrase which accurately means “buffalo,” however there was some confusion concerning the slang that means of the phrase. It appears to be an insult.

We returned to the agent. In line with Unsworth, he’d made a casual settlement with somebody, however the association lasted “weeks.” That settlement ended when Unsworth noticed the contract and determined it will be too onerous, he stated. The 2 remained buddies. Value tried to determine that the maybe-agent was nonetheless Unsworth’s agent and had despatched him a pitch to appropriate not too long ago. Unsworth stated he thought he was serving to his pal’s enterprise; in any occasion, he hadn’t completed including annotations.

Value requested if Unsworth’s mindset was that he wouldn’t inform his story free of charge. Unsworth stated curiosity within the cave rescue had significantly died down and it was unlikely he’d be concerned in something. “It’s gone very quiet,” he stated. Value then confirmed just a few exchanges of Unsworth denigrating different media ventures that had gone ahead with out him.

Probably that is proof of Unsworth’s greed; to me, it simply appeared like shit-talk. Of a guide: “this guide will fall flat on its face” as a result of Unsworth wasn’t speaking calls about it, and a committee approving the soccer groups’ appearances hadn’t authorised theirs. “What I don’t like about that is everyone seems to be making an attempt to do offers that received’t work. I’m the KEY. I’m the large piece within the jigsaw.”

The maybe-agent additionally stated in an e mail that “there’s a substantial quantity of media curiosity” in Unsworth. Unsworth steered that was probably not correct. “Are you saying that brokers would possibly exaggerate?” Value stated, in Los Angeles, a metropolis stuffed with brokers who exaggerate. The maybe-agent did act on Unsworth’s behalf in some e mail correspondence, together with with The Guardian.

Unsworth participated in three books and two documentaries, for a complete of $3,000 in compensation, which Value characterised as about 10 % of Unsworth’s annual revenue. (The revenue “varies,” in keeping with Unsworth, however is round £25,000, which is about $33,000.) He additionally grew to become a member of the British Membership Bangkok, which is outwardly prestigious, and gave a chat there.

Value characterised a video as a “film trailer;” Unsworth disputed this. Unsworth defined that components of the cave had been blocked by silt, blocking the half the place the boys had been, so he and his buddies spent 4 hours digging by means of the silt after which made their approach to the place the boys had been discovered. The video had been shot on GoPros the group wore, and a pal had edited it into just a little film. Unsworth had been credited as director and producer as a sort of joke.

After this was over, Wooden rose to stipulate that Rick Stanton, the top of the rescue dive crew who’d corresponded with Musk and testified on behalf of Unsworth, had additionally acquired presents. We broke for lunch.

Vern, MBE

There was extra dialogue of Unsworth narrating a phase of what Value referred to as a “documentary” and a bunch chat with individuals from SK International, a manufacturing firm that contracts with Netflix. One other chat steered that Unsworth had been approached by one other manufacturing firm and turned the chance down. Value was clearly making an attempt to determine that Unsworth hasn’t misplaced wages because of the “pedo man” tweet, however Unsworth stated he didn’t know if he’d misplaced prospects.

We moved on to the Member of the Order of the British Empire, and found Unsworth had signed a minimum of one e mail “Vern, MBE.” A photograph of Unsworth being counseled by Prince William on the investiture ceremony was displayed, and one other of Unsworth smiling whereas holding the medal that comes with the award.

“Did you ever inform anybody that Musk ought to get his huge checkbook out?” Value requested. Unsworth can’t recall. He additionally doesn’t recall if he’d ever instructed buddies he’d sue in Thailand and get a big sum of money.

Additionally mentioned was Unsworth’s spouse, Vanessa Unsworth, who I’ll name by her first title for disambiguation. The 2 married in 1993 and are nonetheless married. They separated in March 2013; Unsworth met his present companion, Tik, in 2011. His first time in Thailand was additionally in 2011, when he went with Tik — he’d instructed Vanessa he was going for caving, and Vanessa came upon about Tik later. Since 2013, Unsworth stated he’d seen Vanessa in particular person as soon as. His daughter additionally now not speaks to him, he testified. He sends her playing cards and presents. “I nonetheless love my daughter.”

Value requested if Unsworth misplaced weight throughout his separation with Vanessa, or noticed a health care provider. Unsworth doesn’t recall. Value asks if Unsworth noticed medical doctors or received medicine after Musk’s tweets. Unsworth says no — he avoids drugs, even headache drugs.

What did Prince William say?

Wooden rose for the redirect, and I’m now about to explain absolutely the most maddening a part of the day. Unsworth stated that when Prince William awarded the MBE, he immediately talked about the state of affairs with Musk. “He stated to me —” Unsworth begins, earlier than he’s lower off by an objection. I really like gossip and genuinely hope I can’t must go to my grave with out discovering out what Prince William needed to say about Musk.

Unsworth had by no means been concerned in litigation earlier than, in any means. Wooden tried to ask him a sequence of questions on how tough cross-examination had been, and acquired a number of objections, all of which have been sustained.

As for Vanessa, the wedding was successfully over in 2006 or 2007, as she would later testify in her video deposition performed for the courtroom. Unsworth stated Vanessa realized about Tik in 2011 and that Unsworth and Vanessa moved to separate homes in 2013. His daughter stopped talking to him in 2015.

There’s some testimony concerning the Thai Navy Seal who died within the cave in the course of the rescue that I don’t completely see the purpose of; Unsworth says he thought the UK crew divers have been better-equipped to tackle the rescue. There’s some cross-talk between the attorneys I don’t catch, which strikes the Honorable Stephen Wilson to snap that “the interchange between the attorneys is beginning to concern me. No extra speaking to one another. Solely speak to me or to the witness.”

After the connection with Unsworth’s maybe-agent ended, Unsworth didn’t search out an agent. He testifies that if a bunch asks him to journey to talk that he expects them to pay his journey bills. Wooden then shows all the identical pictures that Value did and asks of every if the photograph captured the whole lot in Unsworth’s thoughts when it was taken. It didn’t, in each case.

There was a recross concerning the Thai Navy Seals, and the circumstances that led to the dying. (The deceased had run out of oxygen, Wooden establishes on the redirect.) Lastly, Unsworth stepped down.

Some technical difficulties

The courtroom tried to name Jim Jansen, an skilled witness for the plaintiff, however Jansen couldn’t get into the witness stand. “Did that door get locked once more?” Decide Wilson requested. He addressed the courtroom: “Sorry, it is a brand-new courtroom. Your tax {dollars} at work.” One of many choose’s assistants in a grey swimsuit approached the bench and climbed awkwardly over it into the witness stand to attempt to unlock it from the within. He was unsuccessful. He then scrambled again out, to the courtroom’s common hilarity. We took a 5 minute break.

As soon as the witness stand state of affairs was resolved, Jansen testified at size to his {qualifications}, which embody that he received tenure a 12 months early at Penn State and printed a guide with Cambridge College Press, which he tells us could be very prestigious as a result of it is extremely previous. He has been a co-author on three different books apart from. He spent 112 hours on information assortment and validation for his testimony, for which he was paid $400 an hour — or $44,800. He’s at present an adjunct at Penn State; his major job is at an impartial analysis institute he doesn’t title.

Plaintiff’s lawyer Nicole Wade makes an attempt to introduce a bunch of proof from Jansen, together with 5 full volumes of articles Jansen discovered. The choose received’t enable most of this, asking her as a substitute to solicit testimony from her witness. Jansen discovered 490 articles in English about Musk’s “pedo man” tweet on 361 websites from 33 international locations, 445 printed from July 15 to September 3, 2018. (Articles like this one which have been concerning the litigation have been excluded from his search.) It was fairly restricted testimony, and the cross-examination was restricted to what Jansen didn’t do, so I’m going to skip it.

We then noticed excerpts from Vanessa’s deposition. She testified Unsworth hadn’t been to Thailand till 2011, and had traveled there to do caving. She came upon about Tik later, and Unsworth was trustworthy when she requested straight, although he hadn’t been forthcoming with the data he was seeing another person. Unsworth pays her payments, and he or she appears unconcerned with getting more cash from him.

On account of Musk’s tweets, she stated she’d been contacted by journalists who knocked on the door of her dwelling, slipped notes below her door, and referred to as her at dwelling and at work. She’d spoken with Unsworth on the cellphone and stated he was “actually devastated.”

Vanessa testified that Unsworth sometimes insults individuals, “often when it’s warranted.” She rated his degree of rudeness within the CNN interview as a 5 on a 10 level scale, the place 10 is maximally impolite. She stated that when she and Unsworth have been separating, Unsworth noticed a health care provider. With that, the plaintiff rested.

Because the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, the protection referred to as nobody. I can’t for the lifetime of me perceive why nobody referred to as a linguist to testify concerning the nature of insults.

The jurors have been excused 15 minutes early, however Decide Wilson saved the attorneys to debate closing statements and jury directions. Melody Thompson, one other lawyer for Musk, moved to make an end-run across the jury and resolve the case as a matter of legislation. Decide Wilson declined.

We’ll hear closing arguments tomorrow at 9AM PT.

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