By: Brian Melley, Associated Press Writer
(AP) Rep. Gary Condit’s wife has filed a $10 million libel suit against the National Enquirer for a story that said she verbally attacked Chandra Levy just days before the intern disappeared.
The lawsuit, filed by Carolyn Condit on Thursday, claimed the tabloid falsely reported that she telephoned her husband’s Washington condominium from her California home and “flew into a rage” during a five-minute “heated phone screamfest.”
Condit’s wife maintains she has never met Levy nor spoken with her on the phone. She is seeking an apology and a retraction of the story.
The Enquirer said it stood by its story. “The National Enquirer article was premised upon sources in a position to know the information published,” spokesman Gerald McKelvey said. “National Enquirer intends to vigorously defend in this matter.”
The suit says the headline on the tabloid’s front page — “Cops: Condit’s Wife Attacked Chandra” — wrongly implied the congressman’s wife had physically attacked the intern. “The whole article has just been unjust,” Condit said at a news conference with her lawyers. “It’s been very hurtful.”
The suit, filed in federal court, says Washington police debunked the alleged phone call after the Enquirer first reported it on its Web site July 26. The tabloid’s story, published in print Aug. 7, cited an unidentified source saying that Levy told Carolyn Condit her husband was dumping her.
Gary Condit, a 12-year veteran Democrat from California, has told police he had a romance with Levy, a 24-year-old federal intern, but had nothing to do with her disappearance. He is not considered a suspect. He announced in December he would seek re-election.