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NEW YORK — A federal judge has refused to dismiss a slander suit brought by former California Congressman Gary Condit for statements made by columnist Dominick Dunne about the disappearance and death of Chandra Levy.

Southern District of New York Judge Peter Leisure said Tuesday that Condit has asserted enough facts to survive dismissal, based on comments Dunne made about the Levy case on three national talk shows and at dinner parties where he regaled guests with rumors concerning the congressman.

“This action brings the court to the tire-streaked intersection of the right of one citizen to protect his reputation and the right of another citizen to speak freely,” Judge Leisure began in Condit v. Dunne, 02 Civ. 9910.

Levy’s disappearance from her Washington, D.C., apartment in May 2001 was followed by an acknowledgment by Condit that he was a friend of the 24-year-old Bureau of Prisons employee. Her body was found in a park a year after she disappeared.

There was widespread speculation that Condit and Levy had been romantically involved and that he was being investigated in her disappearance. Condit was later exonerated of any involvement in her death.

Dunne, a special correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine, appeared on a syndicated radio talk show hosted by Laura Ingraham in December 2001. He told the audience that he had spoken with a “horse whisperer” from California who had information about Levy’s fate.

The information, Dunne said, was that Condit frequented parties at Middle Eastern embassies in Washington for which young women had been procured and, at one of these gatherings, let it be known that he wanted to get rid of Levy because she was threatening to go public with certain information about Condit.

New York Law Journal


MIAMI — In a victory for child protection advocates and law enforcement, a state appeals court rejected a first-ever constitutional challenge to the Florida Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 1986.

The unanimous ruling handed down by the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee on Monday, holds that e-mails intended to lure children into illegal sexual activity are not protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“We have grave doubts that the framers of the Constitution,” the judges wrote in a per curiam opinion, “had they the gift of seeing into the future, would have intended that sexually explicit e-mails sent to a minor for the purpose of seducing the minor to engage in illegal sexual acts be protected under the First Amendment, notwithstanding that identical communications to an adult would be protected.”

Though it is nearly two decades old, the act went unchallenged until retired U.S. Navy officer Jeffrey Cashatt argued that the law violated his rights to free speech.

Miami Daily Business Review

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