Slander, the spoken form of defamation, is a false statement that lowers the reputation of the person being spoken about. Some states also consider the speaker’s intent as part of their slander definition.
Non-public figures who want to recover damages must prove the statement was false and their reputation was harmed. Public figures also must prove the false statement was made with “actual malice.” This stricter test allows for more open discussion and criticism of public figures.
Defenses to slander include proving the statement was (1) true, (2) the defendant’s opinion rather than a statement of fact and (3) privileged. Defendants may claim a statement was privileged if it was made during the course of a trial or other legal proceeding.
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