Elon Musk is going to trial after accusing Thai cave rescue diver Vernon Unsworth of being a "pedo guy".
Musk claimed he wasn't making a real accusation, but a US judge has ruled the defamation lawsuit is strong enough to go to court.
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The Tesla CEO was widely condemned for comments he made in 2018 about Unsworth, a British diver who played a key role in rescuing 12 boys from a cave in Thailand.
Unsworth told CNN that Musk's offer of a mini-submarine to help get the children out was "nothing more than a PR stunt".
"He can stick his submarine where it hurts," he said.
In retaliation, Musk penned an angry Twitter tirade in which he questioned Unsworth's role in the operation and made the baseless accusation that he was a "pedo".
He followed this up two months later in a series of emails to a Buzzfeed journalist, calling Unsworth a "child rapist" who "took a 12-year-old bride".
Musk's attorneys argue he was just stating his "opinion" so defamation law doesn't apply.
However Judge Stephen Wilson says there is enough evidence that Musk was making "assertions of objective fact".
"There is nothing about the context in which defendant made the statements - in emails to a specific reporter - that would create doubt as to whether defendant's statements implied assertions of objective fact," he wrote.
"Indeed, defendant made his statements toammber of the news media, whose job is to uncover and collect facts," he added.
A pre-trial conference will take place on October 7.
It's the latest legal trouble for Musk, who recently settled another lawsuit with the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly violating securities law with false and misleading tweets.