Lawyers for Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss a libel lawsuit against him from the British diver who Musk once called a "pedo guy."

In the motion, Musk's lawyers defended Musk's allegations against diver Vernon Unsworth as an "imaginative attack" protected by the First Amendment. 


Unsworth, in September, sued Musk for libel and slander, seeking at least $75,000 in compensatory damages, after Musk publicly accused him of pedophilia. 

Musk's legal team claims that most people who read the "over-the-top" attacks against Unsworth likely did not believe they were true. 

"Musk's statements cannot reasonably be read as asserting underlying knowledge that Unsworth was a pedophile," the motion states.

Unsworth played a pivotal role in the high-profile July rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach following flooding in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave.

The diver, at the time, called Musk’s efforts to rescue the Thai boys with a submarine a "PR stunt" that had "absolutely no chance of working."

Musk responded to the charge in a spree of since-deleted tweets, referring to Unsworth as a "pedo guy," a slang term for pedophile. 

“Shocked by Unsworth’s indefensible and baseless attacks, Musk answered to defend himself and the efforts of SpaceX, Tesla, and the Boring Company employees who had given up their days and nights to help find a solution,” the lawyers wrote in the motion. “Musk took to Twitter — a social networking website infamous for invective and hyperbole — to respond.”

The Tesla CEO, who is known for his social media presence, later apologized and said his words were "spoken in anger."

Unsworth's lawyer, in an Aug. 6 letter to Musk, threatened a possible lawsuit for "false and defamatory statements," BuzzFeed News reported at the time.

"You published through three different tweets to your twenty-two million followers that Mr. Unsworth engages in the sexual exploitation of Thai children, and you did so at a time when he was working to save the lives of twelve Thai children,” lawyer L. Lin Wood wrote. “You did so without any basis. According to a subsequent Twitter post, you did so out of anger.”

Musk's lawyers in the motion are arguing that "the reasonable reader" would not have believed that Musk had a factual basis to believe that Unsworth was a pedophile.