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Condit’s defamation case dismissed

The Associated Press

PHOENIX – A judge has dismissed former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit’s defamation lawsuit against an Arizona newspaper that published an article that said the California Democrat lied to investigators about his relationship with a Washington intern who disappeared and was later found dead.

The Sonoran News, a weekly serving communities in northern Maricopa County, had included the statement regarding Condit in a 2005 article about a brother of the former congressman.

Condit served 13 years in Congress before losing a re-election campaign in 2002 after he became caught up in news coverage related to Washington intern Chandra Levy. She disappeared in 2001, and her remains were found in May 2002 in a Washington park. Condit denied he had anything to do with her disappearance or death.

Granting a motion by the newspaper, published by Conestoga Merchants Inc., to dismiss the suit, Judge Kristin Hoffman of Maricopa County Superior Court ruled that Condit is a public figure and that he failed to prove that the statement was false or that it was published with either knowledge that it was false or reckless disregard for its truth.

Condit attorney Jeff M. Brown of Boca Raton, Fla., expressed disappointment with Hoffman’s ruling but said he and his client had not decided whether to appeal it.

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