Can politicians be sued for slander when making public campaigning statements about other politicians?

Minneapolis litigator David Olsen of Henson & Efron discusses the potential for politicians to be sued for slander on the campaign trail.

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Phone: (612) 339-2500


They can, but it’s pretty rare. And those are probably the most difficult cases to win for a plaintiff claiming to have been defamed if it’s part of a political campaign. You asked me earlier about the origins of the first amendment, and political speech has historically had the highest level of protection. Courts almost never in the political arena will say that something has crossed the line from permissible political discourse and debate into the area of defamation because that would tend to chill free speech too much. And we want to encourage free and open political debate.