Elon Musk agreed to pay $10,000 to settle a defamation lawsuit by a Tesla Inc. critic who became a hero to short sellers with his Twitter posts and then accused the CEO of smearing him with false allegations, according to lawyers for the plaintiff.
The accord, announced months ahead of a scheduled trial, marks a rare truce for Musk. The chief executive officer of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter Inc., is both a magnet for and a source of extensive litigation, and has shown a penchant for taking his showdowns to trial instead of settling.
Musk’s tangle with Randeep Hothi grew out of the graduate student’s prolific tweeting about Tesla’s troubles in 2018 ramping up its Model 3 sedan production. While many critics of the electric-car maker are finance types who pour over the company’s earnings calls and regulatory filings, Hothi made a name for himself under the Twitter handle “Skabooshka” by monitoring production output using cameras and drones and catching the attention of several hedge funds with his on-the-ground research.