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SO in my example where I say you and John said I was a thief, in writing to you and saying "that john also said I was a thief" I defame John?
Even if this is to describe when or where, in maybe a cease and desist letter -
With your answer - As this is outside court and not yet litigated, John would now have a equal valid case for being defamed.
So how would you explain the facts in this instance without recrimination?