In September, Musk revealed in court documents that one of his trusted aides, Jared Birchall, paid $50,000 to hire a private investigator who looked into Unsworth. Attorneys for Unsworth said the investigator was offered a $10,000 bonus if he was able to confirm nefarious behavior -- which was never paid.

Birchall worked at Morgan Stanley until 2016 and is the manager of Excession LLC, Musk’s family office.

He took the stand after Musk.

Birchall testified he hired James Howard.

After Howard came up with what later turned out to be fake dirt on Unsworth, such as that he had been visiting Thailand since the 1980s and that he met his wife when she was a teenager, Birchall, using the name James Brickhouse, told Howard to leak the information to media in the U.K.

“I believed him to be a credible investigator,” Birchall told the jury. “I understood these things to be facts. I asked him to share facts.”

Musk also enlisted help from a second investigator at the Palo Alto, California-based law firm Cooley LLP. Cooley didn’t respond to a request for comment. But pay records and emails from Cooley have been acquired.

The case is Unsworth v. Musk, 18-cv-08048, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Elon Musk Maybe Doesn’t Understand Words That Begin With ‘P’

Elon Musk is a billionaire entrepreneur, and as such is not used to be called to account for his actions, whether those actions are alleged securities law violations or smoking weed on camera while under scrutiny for a Twitter habit at the heart of those alleged securities law violations or inability to meet either profit or production goals. Certainly, he’s not interested in being called to account for rather apparently alleging that a man seeking to rescue children from a cave is an actual child rapist.

We say “apparent,” because in spite of the fact that the prefix “pedo” literally means “child,” Musk went through with his plan to testify that on the mean streets of Pretoria, it instead refers to creepy old men rather than serving as an abbreviation of pedophile.

Musk, 48, said the term “pedo guy” was a common epithet in South Africa, where he grew up.

“It’s an insult, like saying mother-effer doesn’t actually mean someone having sex with their mother,” he testified, using a sanitized version of a more vulgar expression.

This is not the only “don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining” moment from Musk’s turn on the stand. The alleged 34-richest person in the world also told the court, which will presumably turn to how much of his $26.5 billion fortune Musk’s target, Vernon Unsworth, will get after it determines that, yea, pedo means exactly what you think it means, that being the 34-richest person in the world doesn’t mean what you’d think it means.

“People think I have a lot of cash. I actually don’t,” Musk reportedly testified in Los Angeles, adding that he also has debt against his stock holdings.

Unlike his “pedo guy” etymology, this is actually notionally believable. Indeed, Bloomberg calculated his net worth by adding up the value of his stakes in Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company, none of which constitute cash, per se. On the other hand, crying poverty is a bit hard to take given this:

Over the last seven years, Mr. Musk and limited-liability companies tied to him have amassed a cluster of six houses on two streets in the “lower” and “mid” areas of the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, a celebrity-filled, leafy enclave near the Hotel Bel-Air.

Those buys—plus a grand, 100-year-old estate in Northern California near the headquarters of Tesla, the electric car concern he heads—means Mr. Musk or LLCs with ties to him have spent around $100 million on seven properties. He didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Bright side: This does bolster Musk’s case that he doesn’t understand what words mean.

British cave explorer felt ‘branded a pedophile’ by Elon Musk tweet [Reuters]
Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims he doesn’t have much cash during ‘pedo guy’ trial [N.Y. Post]
Elon Musk Buys Out the Neighborhood [WSJ]