25-840. Libel or slander; truth as defense; effect of actual malice.

In the actions mentioned in section 25-839, the defendant may allege the truth of the matter charged as defamatory, prove the same and any mitigating circumstances to reduce the amount of damages, or prove either. The truth in itself and alone shall be a complete defense unless it shall be proved by the plaintiff that the publication was made with actual malice. Actual malice shall not be inferred or presumed from publication.

Source:R.S.1867, Code § 132, p. 414; R.S.1913, § 7700; C.S.1922, § 8644; C.S.1929, § 20-840; R.S.1943, § 25-840; Laws 1957, c. 83, § 1, p. 329.