Could John Fetterman Win a Defamation Lawsuit Against Donald Trump, for Accusing Fetterman of Hard Drug Use?
At a campaign rally, Trump said,
Fetterman supports taxpayer-funded drug dens and the complete decriminalization of illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, and ultra lethal fentanyl. By the way, he takes them himself.
The clip included above seems to support that. If the “he takes them himself” statement is false, could Fetterman (a public official) win a defamation lawsuit against Trump?
Yes, though he’d have to show, by “clear and convincing evidence,” that Trump spoke “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” “Reckless disregard” in turn refers to a “high degree of awareness of … probable falsity” or “entertain[ing] serious doubts as to the truth of his publication.”
“[F]ailure to investigate before publishing, even when a reasonably prudent person would have done so, is not sufficient to establish reckless disregard.” But “[a]lthough failure to investigate will not alone support a finding of actual malice, the p
Article from Reason.com