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Defamation is a false statement of fact that (1) is published; (2) damages or injures the reputation of another party; and (3) is made without legal excuse (defense or privilege). Defamation may be in the form of a written statement (libel) or a spoken statement (slander) and is a tort or legal wrong that may create civil liability (for money damages) for a person who makes a defamatory statement that is not privileged (e.g., made during a judicial proceeding) and for which there is no defense (such as truth or retraction).

To be actionable and subject the person making the statement to liability the statement must be published to a third party. In other words, a written or spoken statement made from one person to another that is not read or heard by a third person (or could not have been reasonably expected by the person making the statement to be read or heard by a third person) is not published and is not defamation.

In Texas, defamation is recognized as a false statement of fact that is published, injures another party's reputation, and is made without a legal excuse. Texas law distinguishes between libel, which is written defamation, and slander, which is spoken defamation. For a defamation claim to be actionable in Texas, the statement must be communicated to a third party; a private exchange between two people that is not overheard or seen by others does not constitute publication. Defamation is a civil wrong, and the party responsible for the defamatory statement can be held liable for monetary damages. Defenses against defamation claims in Texas include truth, which is an absolute defense, and retraction, which may mitigate damages. Additionally, certain statements made in privileged contexts, such as during judicial proceedings, are typically immune from defamation claims. It is important for individuals in Texas to be aware of these laws to understand their rights and potential liabilities regarding defamatory statements.

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How Alex Jones Lost the Sandy Hook Defamation Cases
Alex Jones, a far-right broadcaster, came under fire for defamation over his controversial claims about the Sandy Hook school shooting. Now, juries will decide how much he must pay the families in damages and court costs.