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Elon Musk Fails to Throw Out Defamation Suit Filed Against Him by Indian-American Student

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

A University of Michigan graduate student, Randeep Hothi claimed that the business magnate triggered an online hate campaign against him in the complaint he filed in August in Alameda County Superior Court.

Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, fighting a defamation suit filed against him by an Indian-American student, has failed to convince a California court that the allegations levied against him were baseless and were an attempt to curb his free speech.

After hearing the plea of Musk, a California state judge rejected his claims and refused to strike down the defamation suit. University of Michigan graduate student Randeep Hothi claimed that the business magnate triggered an online hate campaign against him in the complaint he filed in August in Alameda County Superior Court.

As per Rothi's claims, he got on the wrong side of Musk on two occasions spanning over 2 years. In the first, in February 2019, Hothi was confronted by a security guard when he showed up at the Tesla sales center in Fremont in California with regards to a research project. In the second, in April 2019, Hothi said he was driving when he spotted a Tesla test car and took photos of it, which he later posted online.

Hothi said his post enraged Musk and the Tesla Chief wrote an email to an online tech editor complaining against Hothi and badmouthing him. As per reports, Musk has called Hothi a liar and accused him of 'almost' killing Tesla employees when he was trying to drive away from the sales center.

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Musk has asked the judge to rule in his favor by striking the lawsuit on grounds that what he said involved a matter of public interest. However, the judge refused to concede to his request. In a written ruling, Judge Julia Spain concluded there are issues suitable for a trial over whether Musk's statements were true. She also emphasized that Hothi showed that he can probably win the lawsuit.