I live in Maryland.

Over the past few months there is a guy on Facebook who has been openly lying about me.

He has repeatedly said that I have made threats against him, I have not. He has repeatedly said that I am friends with Louis Farakhan, I have never had any contact with LK. He said that I'm a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, I have never supported them in any way shape or form.

I have screenshots and evidence of all these false statements about me. I know where this person lives (near me in Maryland). Do I have a legal case to sue for defamation and is it likely I would be awarded any significant damages?

  • 2
    Can you show that you've suffered significant damages because of this?
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 6:07
  • No I can't show that. But I've heard that if the defamatory accusation says that I engaged in criminal conduct, showing such damages is not necessary. Is that true for Maryland? I'm pretty sure supporting Hamas/Hezbollah are crimes.
    – Saqib Ali
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 6:23
  • 3
    Since you've apparently been accused of a crime, then the accusations would be presumed to be defamation per se, so you wouldn't need to show damages for the case to reach a verdict. However, if you want to be awarded "significant damages" then you're going to need to show actual damage.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 6:41
  • What exactly do you mean by 'supporting'? A verbal or written statement of support for their policies should fall under freedom of speech. Giving them financial support on the other hand could be illegal.
    – quarague
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 12:03
  • 1
    @SaqibAli It probably does fall under defamation, what quarague is saying is that it isn't a crime, necessarily, to support a terrorist/extremist group. Supporting a group passively (verbal/written statements or certain symbolic actions like flying an ISIS flag) isn't illegal, and therefore you aren't being accused of "engaging in criminal conduct" in that regard.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


So Maryland is a Defimation Per Se state, and lists accusations of moral turpitude, criminal conduct, or fraud. I would say on the second statement about offering support ot Hamas and/or Hezbollah, which are considered terrorist organizations. Being buddies with Louis Farakhan's buddy is likely not a Per Se defamatory statement but a Per Quod meaning you would have to prove damages from this false assertion. Remember that just because you disagree with his political positions does not mean you aren't capable of sitting down with him for a friendly happy hour debate over politics. Lots of people have good friends who they debate politics with and will still be friendly with.

I would make certain that you go through your history of statements on social media and in public to make certain you don't have anything that can be construed as supporting political beliefs that these organizations support (even if you don't support those organization's methods of obtaining their political goal). Do not limit yourself to just material support (donating things of value to them). I'm not for the purposes of this answer going to comment on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but if your political opinions on the matter are in favor of Palestine, the statements above, while hyperbolic, are not totally out of line and thus defamitory, since all of the accused associations against you are also big names in pro-Palestine support circles. Try to also look for any statements where, unprompted, you are critical of the statements of the three false associations.

As always, you should discuss specifics with a lawyer specializing in this matter. Most firms will offer a consultation for free so you can discuss the case and the specifics and get advice as to what you should do. I do not think you will be awarded much beyond basic actual damages and legal fees from the guy, since the statements have not caused you any damages such as loss of job or becoming a target of government investigation by law enforcement agencies.

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