Defamation Takes A Holiday: Slander And Salem Witch Trials

Law360, New York (October 28, 2016, 11:04 AM EDT) -- Hypothetical: You go out for a nice stroll on Halloween only to have a neighbor emerge from his house with a pitchfork and accuse you of being a witch in front of the whole village. For the sake of argument, let’s say you are not actually a witch. Can you sue for slander?

For centuries, a civil defamation lawsuit has been available as a remedy — and often the best defense — against accusations of witchcraft. However, the popularity of such lawsuits as a response to witchcraft accusations has been inconstant, waxing and waning depending on a number of sociological and...

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