Elon Musk, Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer, loses round one of an argument against Randeep Hothi, an Indian-American student who had earlier sued him for defamation.
Musk’s argument that the suit filed by Randeep Hothi was baseless and should be thrown out as an attempt to silence the billionaire’s free speech was rejected by a California state judge.
Randeep Hothi, a University of Michigan graduate student, known as @skabooshka on Twitter, drew the billionaire’s wrath two years ago after two incidents, where Hothi claimed that both of the incidents were harmless.
Per reports, in the first incident in February 2019, Hothi was confronted by a security guard when he showed up to do research at the Tesla sales centre in Fremont, California. And in the second incident in April 2019, Hothi said he spotted a Tesla test car when he was driving and took photos of it, which he later posted online.
In an email to an online tech editor, Musk complained about Hothi describing him as a liar and accusing him of almost killing Tesla employees when he was trying to drive away from the Tesla sales centre.
Hothi, however, claimed that Musk triggered an online hate campaign against him in the complaint he filed in Alameda County Superior Court in August.
Judge Julia Spain, in a brief written ruling, concluded there are issues suitable for a trial over whether Musk’s statements were true. She also said that Hothi showed that he can probably win the lawsuit.
Musk, on the other hand, asked the judge to strike the lawsuit on the grounds that what he said involved a matter of public interest, making it protected speech and that Hothi could not prove the statements were untrue.