Originally Posted by Jwilson
Absence of Malice.
Malice is not an element to a common law claim for defamation.
Any statement, whether written or oral, that injures a third party's reputation. See, e.g. Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259 (1993). The tort of defamation includes both libel and slander.
To establish a prima facie case of defamation, four elements are generally required: a false statement purporting to be fact concerning another person or entity; publication or communication of that statement to a third person; fault on the part of the person making the statement amounting to intent or at least negligence; and some harm caused to the person or entity who is the subject of the statement.
It gets plenty more complicated in terms of the public figure and limited public figure exceptions as well as what standards actually meet those elements and then what defenses may exist.
Regardless, no, they would not have a claim for defamation. The TMZ article did not make a false statement purporting to be fact. The report says that a "source" told them they were "wanted for questioning." That's true, so far as any of us know or will ever know due to TMZ's right to protect its source. The article does not say they actually committed the act in question. It is also likely that Vic and Kelcy would qualify at least as limited public figures subject to lesser protection from public statements about themselves.