A defamation case brought by critic Randeep Hothi against Tesla CEO Elon Musk is coming to an end and would have cost the billionaire ten major costs.
Lawyers representing Hothi, a vocal member of the TSLAQ short-seller community on Twitter, said in a statement that Musk filed for a settlement in March in the nearly three-year-old case. Hothi tweeted Monday that he accepted the alleged offer, “for a modest $10,000.”
The Tesla skeptic added that he “looks[s] looking forward to receiving a check from him in the mail.”
Hothi rose to prominence as a skeptic of Tesla’s gigafactory plans and “fully self-driving” technology. In 2019, Tesla sought a permanent restraining order against Hothi, alleging he had “stalked, harassed and endangered” employees while they were driving a Model 3.
In addition, Tesla said Hothi entered its Fremont, California, facility and installed cameras.
In response, a “defense fund” for Hothi on GoFundMe aimed to raise $100,000 and ultimately secure $229,592. Tesla soon dropped his case without publicly releasing evidence to support his claims.
Yet the saga took a different turn about a month later, when Musk claimed in an email to another of the company’s vocal critics, Aaron Greenspan, that Hothi “almost killed Tesla employees.” Greenspan published the CEO’s email, and Hothi later sued for libel in the Alameda Superior Court of California.
Hothi’s lawyers claimed Musk’s comment “provoked an onslaught of hateful Twitter comments,” saying the CEO’s supporters “accused Hothi of being a liar, a murderer, a terrorist and a deranged maniac,” according to an August 2020 complaint. Lawyers representing Musk petitioned the court to dismiss the case, but the case was eventually discovered.
About a year ago, Musk tweeted that Tesla would “never surrender/resolve an unjust case against us, even though we are likely to lose”. Hothi’s lawyers quoted this tweet in a statement Monday, saying, “We welcome Musk’s belated admission that this case was just.”
Court documents show that Hothi’s lawyers filed a request to dismiss the case earlier today.