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HF 537

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 02/02/2015 01:47pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to crime; modifying the crime of defamation to prohibit statements that
a person knows are false and defamatory; amending Minnesota Statutes 2014,
section 609.765.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 609.765, is amended to read:


609.765 CRIMINAL DEFAMATION.

Subdivision 1.

Definition.

Defamatory matter is anything which exposes a person
or a group, class or association to hatred, contempt, ridicule, degradation or disgrace in
society, or injury to business or occupation.

Subd. 2.

Acts constituting.

Whoever with knowledge of its new text beginfalse and new text enddefamatory
character orally, in writing or by any other means, communicates any new text beginfalse and new text enddefamatory
matter to a third person without the consent of the person defamed is guilty of criminal
defamation and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to
payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

Subd. 3.

Justification.

Violation of subdivision 2 is justified if:

deleted text begin (1) the defamatory matter is true and is communicated with good motives and for
justifiable ends; or
deleted text end

deleted text begin (2)deleted text endnew text begin (1)new text end the communication is absolutely privileged; or

deleted text begin (3)deleted text endnew text begin (2)new text end the communication consists of fair comment made in good faith with respect
to persons participating in matters of public concern; or

deleted text begin (4)deleted text endnew text begin (3)new text end the communication consists of a fair and true report or a fair summary of any
judicial, legislative or other public or official proceedings; or

deleted text begin (5)deleted text endnew text begin (4)new text end the communication is between persons each having an interest or duty with
respect to the subject matter of the communication and is made with intent to further
such interest or duty.

Subd. 4.

Testimony required.

No person shall be convicted on the basis of an oral
communication of defamatory matter except upon the testimony of at least two other
persons that they heard and understood the oral statement as defamatory or upon a plea
of guilty.