Hi and welcome to JA. I am Ray and will be the expert helping you today.
You can sue here in California for monetary damages.It is not a crime but civil liability to the person who harmed you.
Here in California, a claim for defamation involves a false statement made by one person about another person, which causes harm to a person's property, business, profession or occupation. Defamatory statements are typically made using two methods:
(1) Slander: Making defamatory statements by a transitory (non-fixed) representation, usually an oral representation; or
(2) Libel: Making defamatory statements in a printed or fixed medium, such as a magazine or newspaper.
In a civil suit for damages you will have to prove:
1. A false and defamatory statement about another;
2. The unprivileged publication of the statement to a 3rd party (not including the person defamed by the statement);
3. Damage to the person defamed.
Publication, in the context of defamation, does not mean it must be in print. Rather, it is considered published when it is made to a 3rd party.
Your lawyer here may send demand letter and then file suit if unresolved.
I appreciate the chance to help you today.Please let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks again.