Two British cave-divers (2nd and 3rd-L) with Thai army soldiers and local rescue personnel are seen searching for new openings in the mountain of Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai province on June 28, 2018 during rescue operation for a missing children's football team and their coach in Tham Luang cave. - A team of US military personnel and British divers joined rescue efforts at a flooded cave in northern Thailand where 12 children and their football coach have been trapped for five days as heavy overnight rains hampered the search. (Photo by Krit PHROMSAKLA NA SAKOLNAKORN / THAI NEWS PIX / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KRIT PHROMSAKLA NA SAKOLNAKORN/AFP/Getty Images)
KRIT PHROMSAKLA NA SAKOLNAKORN/AFP/Getty Images
Two British cave-divers (2nd and 3rd-L) with Thai army soldiers and local rescue personnel are seen searching for new openings in the mountain of Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai province on June 28, 2018 during rescue operation for a missing children's football team and their coach in Tham Luang cave. - A team of US military personnel and British divers joined rescue efforts at a flooded cave in northern Thailand where 12 children and their football coach have been trapped for five days as heavy overnight rains hampered the search. (Photo by Krit PHROMSAKLA NA SAKOLNAKORN / THAI NEWS PIX / AFP) (Photo credit should read KRIT PHROMSAKLA NA SAKOLNAKORN/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:53
Elon Musk sued over 'pedo' tweet
Fox News/Twitter
Now playing
01:33
ADL wants Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson over racist comments
Now playing
01:54
'You think I'm racist': Former Fox News host storms off camera
CNN
Now playing
03:37
'The fraud is this farce': Cuomo calls out Fox News host
CNN
Now playing
05:00
Watch Alisyn Camerota sign-off CNN's New Day
Camerota Berman both
CNN
Camerota Berman both
Now playing
02:33
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota gets surprise tribute from co-anchor
CNN/HBO/"Q: Into the Storm"
Now playing
05:35
Filmmaker says he potentially uncovered man behind QAnon
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 30:  Anti-vaccine activists hold up signs during a protest in front of the Massachusetts State House against Governor Charlie Baker's mandate that all Massachusetts school students enrolled in child care, pre-school, K-12, and post-secondary institutions must receive the flu vaccine this year on August 30, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
Scott Eisen/Getty Images
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 30: Anti-vaccine activists hold up signs during a protest in front of the Massachusetts State House against Governor Charlie Baker's mandate that all Massachusetts school students enrolled in child care, pre-school, K-12, and post-secondary institutions must receive the flu vaccine this year on August 30, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:06
Research exec: Far-right groups pushing vaccine as 'mark of the beast'
stelter chauvin trial international coverage kethevane gorjestani sot rs vpx_00000000.png
stelter chauvin trial international coverage kethevane gorjestani sot rs vpx_00000000.png
Now playing
02:19
How the rest of the world is covering the Derek Chauvin trial
CBS This Morning
Now playing
01:57
Hunter Biden makes rare comment about seized laptop
Fox News
Now playing
03:43
Tucker Carlson's interview with Gaetz gets uncomfortable
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: News headlines on the impeachment trial of Donald Trump are displayed outside of the Fox headquarters on February 09, 2021 in New York City. After listening to nearly four hours of legal arguments, the Senate has voted on Tuesday to move ahead with the impeachment trial of former President Trump. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: News headlines on the impeachment trial of Donald Trump are displayed outside of the Fox headquarters on February 09, 2021 in New York City. After listening to nearly four hours of legal arguments, the Senate has voted on Tuesday to move ahead with the impeachment trial of former President Trump. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Now playing
04:03
Dominion Voting Systems files $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News
 President Donald Trump waves as he departs on the South Lawn of the White House, on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Al Drago/Getty Images
President Donald Trump waves as he departs on the South Lawn of the White House, on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
01:35
Trump praises Capitol rioters 'hugging and kissing the police'
Now playing
01:33
Meghan McCain is, again, in the hot seat over diversity comments
Now playing
01:51
John Oliver calls out Meghan McCain's response to Atlanta shootings
CNN
Now playing
06:47
Chung: Media was 'miserably late' to covering anti-Asian hate
(CNN Business) —  

Tesla CEO Elon Musk lashed out and called one of the rescuers of the boys soccer team trapped in a Thai cave “pedo guy” because he felt insulted by the man. That was what Musk and his lawyer argued Tuesday, as Musk testified in a defamation suit brought by the rescuer.

On July 15, 2018, Musk tweeted “pedo guy” in reference to Vernon Unsworth, one of the people involved in the Thai cave rescue that saved 12 boys and their soccer coach that same month. Musk took the stand for about four hours in a Los Angeles courtroom on Tuesday and argued that he did not intend for the words “pedo guy” to be a statement of fact but rather as an insult after Unsworth provoked him

Unsworth sued Musk in September 2018 for defamation, seeking punitive and compensatory damages. In his legal team’s opening statement, attorney Taylor Wilson said, “Unsworth brought this lawsuit against Musk for accusing him of being a pedophile in what should have been one of the proudest moments of his life.” Instead, Musk brought the British man who helped in the cave rescue “shame,” Wilson said.

But Musk and his legal team cast the billionaire as the victim. Musk’s tweet on July 15 came after CNN published a video interview with Unsworth in which he said, “He can stick his submarine where it hurts,” when asked about Musk’s effort to save the trapped boys with a mini submarine he created.

When asked about the CNN interview in a cross examination by Unsworth’s attorney L. Lin Wood, Musk said, “It was wrong and insulting, so I insulted him back.”

Wood went after Musk for not retracting his statement despite the number of opportunities he had. News articles suggested “pedo” meant “pedophile” but Musk did not correct the record, Wood said.

“No, just like [Unsworth] didn’t clarify he wanted to sodomize me with a submarine. I didn’t think it required clarification,” Musk said. “I think that would have been worse. If you called someone a motherf’er I don’t think you would have to clarify you don’t actually commit incest. It would sound disingenuous.”

Following Unsworth’s lawsuit, Musk filed a declaration that “pedo guy” is a common insult in South Africa used to insult demeanor and appearances. In court on Tuesday, Musk elaborated by saying, “It’s quite common in the English speaking world. Calling someone a ‘pedo guy’ means creepy. If you did a search or asked someone what it means it would be a creepy.”

Musk’s lawyer Alex Spiro, in his opening statement, referred to Musk’s tweet as a “JDART.” Spiro said, “It was a joking, deleted, apologized for, responsive tweet. A JDART.”

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., arrives at federal court in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Musk will have to go before a federal jury and defend calling a British caver a "pedo guy." Photographer:
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., arrives at federal court in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Musk will have to go before a federal jury and defend calling a British caver a "pedo guy." Photographer:

Musk tried to downplay his influence during Wood’s cross examination. Musk had more than 22 million Twitter followers at the time of the “pedo guy” tweets and now has surpassed 29 million. He is the CEO of multiple companies and is ranked as one of the wealthiest people in the world.

“I’m not sure to the degree I’m influential. I try to get people to take climate change seriously and that hasn’t worked,” Musk said. “Among those people who believe in climate change I think I have influence.”

The defamation case is focused on the July 2018 tweets. Yet Unsworth’s lawyer also used an email exchange between BuzzFeed News reporter Ryan Mac and Musk as evidence of “establishing Musk’s state of mind at the time of the alleged defamation,” as the judge ruled last week.

Wood read aloud that exchange, including, “You said, ‘I hope he fucking sues me.’” Musk replied, “Yeah, I guess be careful what you wish for.”

Musk was the first witness of the trial, which the judge said should last all week. Musk’s lawyer Spiro will continue his examination Wednesday and the court will hear testimonies from Unsworth and other witnesses.