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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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A friend of mine told me hed been to a party and hed seen

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A friend of mine told me he'd been to a party and he'd seen a prosecutor from the city in which I live. The party involved a lot of drugs--meth, opiates, prescription pain pills, etc.--and then animals were brought out, primarily chickens and female dogs. The men there "indulged" themselves with these animals.

My question is: how do I handle this? If I ask a couple of people who are "in the know" on their facebook pages if they've heard of any of it, could I be prosecuted for slander or defamation of character? Obviously, I can't go to the police, and more obviously I can't go to the prosecutor's assistants, but I think people should know. If it goes on facebook, people will know.

My friend absolutely will not report any of it, since it would taint his reputation by doing so. However, I think people should know, and I completely trust what my friend told me. By the way, the prosecutor is a foster "parent" for our local animal shelter. That makes me shudder, as I am also a foster parent.

Please DO NOT use my name on here.
You have two possible agencies to whom you can complain:

1. Office of Disciplinary Administrator. This is the agency that regulates attorney conduct in Kansas.

2. Office of the Attorney General. The AG's office investigates criminal activities by public officials

There is no way to avoid identifying yourself to the investigating agencies. This is the only way to handle the problem, other than to contact the news media and try to remain anonymous.

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't want to report this to anyone who will use my name. I could go to the media, but I have no guarantee that my name will stay out of it, especially in this small town. My question still is: If I say anything to anyone, on facebook or elsewhere, will the prosecutor be able to come after me for defamation of character, even though he's a public figure and all I want to do is protect animals? My understanding is that if I say something that I believe to be true, and I'm not just being malicious or something, I'm not liable. If I say it on a facebook page, my whole name won't be on there, so only the people who have the page will know who I am.

The elements of defamation are:

1. A false statement made by defendant;
2. of or concerning plaintiff;
3. published to a third party;
4. causing damages;
5. If the person is a public figure or the matter is of public concern, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant either knew that the statement was false, or that the defendant acted with reckless disregard for the truth (this is called malice).

If you have no one who will support your version of the story, then the prosecutor could sue you for defamation and it would simply be your word against the prosecutor. This means that it wouldn't be very difficult to show that your statement was false, because there will be absolutely nothing and no one who will corroborate your version of the facts. This makes your risk extremely high.

So, if you don't have anyone or any objective proof (photos, or video or an audio recording), then trying to tell the world about what happened could end up backfiring on you in a big way. After all, the prosecutor is a lawyer, so it wouldn't take a lot for him to file a lawsuit, and you would need to hire a lawyer to defend yourself -- which could cost you a small fortune.

Sometimes you have to save your bullets and wait for a better opportunity to do battle. Otherwise, you could run out of ammo and get killed before you have any chance at victory.

Hope this helps.

NOTICE: My goal here is to entertain while educating the public about the law. I hope my answer is useful and informative to you. During our conversation, the website may ask you to rate my answer. If you rate my answer lower than the middle rating, then the website retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing. It is entirely your choice as to how you rate my answer. However, because your payment to me is in the nature of a donation/gift, rather than as compensation for any services rendered, you are entitled to know how your rating affects the final distribution of your donation.

If you need to contact me again, please put my user id at the beginning of your question ("To Socrateaser"), and the system will send me an alert. Please Click the following link for IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION. Thanks and best wishes!

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