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Judge dismisses ex-congressman’s defamation lawsuit against writer

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  1. Libel and Privacy
A federal judge has dismissed former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit's defamation lawsuit against Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne, who commented on…

A federal judge has dismissed former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit’s defamation lawsuit against Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne, who commented on CNN that he thought Condit knew more about a murdered D.C. intern than he had revealed.

U.S. District Judge Peter Leisure wrote in his opinion that the First Amendment and California law protected Dunne’s comments.

"Dunne’s opinion statements do not, either in substance or in implication, constitute provably false assertions of fact," Leisure wrote in dismissing the case, adding that "Dunne does not suggest that his opinion statements are based on any additional facts not known to the public."

In a November 2005 appearance on Larry King Live with guest interviewer Bob Costas, Dunne said that he thought Condit “knows more about what did happen" to slain intern Chandra Levy "than he has ever said.”

Dunne settled an earlier defamation lawsuit filed by Condit in March 2005.  But in November 2006, Condit sued over the comments made to Costas.

Condit and his wife, Carolyn, have filed numerous defamation suits since Levy disappeared in 2001, and theories about the nature of his relationship with Levy surfaced. Condit told investigators that he and the intern had a sexual relationship.

Levy’s remains were found in a Washington, D.C. park in 2002.  Her murder is unsolved.