Condit Sues Over Chandra Levy Articles
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Former Rep. Gary Condit sued The National Enquirer and other tabloids for $209 million on Friday, alleging they falsely connected him with the 2001 murder of federal intern Chandra Levy.
The California Democrat alleges that the Enquirer, Globe and Star Magazine tabloids, along with parent company American Media Inc., maliciously published defamatory statements that Condit ``was involved in deviant and perverted sexual conduct, which directly or indirectly led to the kidnapping and/or murder of Ms. Levy,″ according to the suit filed in Palm Beach County circuit court.
AMI General Counsel Michael Kahane said in a statement that the Boca Raton-based company ``will vigorously defend any suit filed by Mr. Condit″ and that he expects it to be dismissed.
``We fully stand behind the editorial integrity of what we have published,″ the statement said.
Condit’s lawsuit details 45 pages of headlines he alleges were false and defamatory, such as ``Congressman & the intern. Chandra killed in kinky sex game!″
The lawsuit claims the tabloids failed to reasonably investigate the stories and paid sources for the false statements ``in a calculated effort″ to boost profits.
Condit is asking for $19 million in actual damages, plus $190 million in punitive damages.
During the yearlong investigation into Levy’s disappearance, Condit told police he had a romance with Levy but knew nothing of her disappearance. He is not considered a suspect in her unsolved death, which was ruled a homicide after her remains were discovered in a Washington, D.C., park in May 2002.
The case drew months of negative publicity and was cited as the main cause of Condit’s re-election defeat in the March 2002 primary.
His wife, Carolyn, settled a lawsuit with the Enquirer for an undisclosed amount in July.
Condit has another lawsuit pending, an $11 million defamation complaint, against author Dominick Dunne.