he stated that he had received the letter from a confidential
source in Canada but he refused to show the letter then. After
further discussion, and when it became apparent that friends of
plaintiff had prevailed in forcing a vote to admit the plaintiff
into membership, the defendant stated that he had documentary
evidence that the plaintiff was a Communist; that plaintiff was a
member of the Yugoslav secret police, and that the plaintiff was
here to spy upon members of the organization.
3. The plaintiff testified and denied that he was or is a
Communist and that he hated and opposed Communism and that he had
good cause to fear and hate Communists; that he had been so
severely beaten by them that he had lost many of his teeth as a
result of the beatings; that his father had been killed by
Communists, and that his mother had suffered extreme cruelty at
4. The defendant produced the letter he had exhibited at the
meeting on August 11, 1957 at South Chicago, Illinois. It was
admitted and purported to come from a member of the Chetnik
Veterans organization in Canada. The letter stated, among other
things, that the writer recognized the plaintiff from a picture
sent to him; that the plaintiff was the same accordion player
that he had seen in Budapest, playing for and entertaining the
Communists; that the plaintiff had come to Canada and reported on
the Chetniks in the United States of America, and that he was not
good for the local Chetnik Veterans.
5. Several members of the Chetnik Veterans testified that they
were present at the local meeting of the organization on August
11, 1957 in South Chicago, Illinois, and heard the statements of
the president, but no person was present and heard the statements
except members of said organization.
6. Defendant testified and admitted, in substance, that he made
the statements. He testified he had also stated that if, after
further investigation, the charges were found to be untrue, he
would be the first to shake the hand of the plaintiff. In his
testimony the defendant refused to concede the falsity of his
statements about the plaintiff, although a review board of the
national organization of the Chetnik organization did,
thereafter, find the charges unfounded, after considering the
letter which defendant had, in part, relied upon when he made his
7. The court finds that the statements made by the defendant
about the plaintiff were false; that they were slanderous per se
and that in addition they were slanderous by innuendo, because of
the circumstances under which they were made and because of the
persons to whom they were made; that they were intended to and
did carry slanderous implications; that both the defendant and
the persons in whose hearing they were made, at the Chetnik
Veterans local meeting in South Chicago, Illinois on August 11,
1957, knew the words were meant and did carry slanderous
implications; and that they were made with malice on the part of
8. The plaintiff utterly failed to present any evidence
connecting the defendant with or to show that the defendant
caused the statements to be written in the "Serbian News" at
Rome, Italy, or that he caused the same to be circulated in the
United States. Plaintiff's own counsel admitted the plaintiff's
failure to produce such evidence.
9. Plaintiff testified that he was earning $50 an evening for
three evenings a week, playing the accordion, prior to this
occurrence and that, as a result of the occurrence, he was out of
employment for approximately two years. On cross-examination he
admitted that he filed no income tax return for the year 1956 and
could not remember what his earnings were for 1957, either before
or after the occurrence. He admitted that he had no contact or
commitments for his services. He testified that during the said
two-year period he was the part owner of a tavern. His evidence
was unsupported and there was no showing of special damages.
Under all the circumstances, the court finds that the plaintiff
was damaged in the amount of $1,500.
Conclusions of Law
1. The court concludes the words used by the defendant about
and concerning the plaintiff, as set forth in the findings of
fact herein and at the time and place as above set forth,
constituted slander per se and in addition thereto constituted
slander by virtue of the circumstances under which the statements
were made and considering the persons to whom they were made, and
by innuendo they were intended to be slanderous.
2. The court concludes that the plaintiff did not establish
evidence of libel by the defendant.
3. The court further concludes that the plaintiff is entitled
to recover $1,500 from the defendant.
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