WASHINGTON – Former Rep. Gary Condit (search) has settled his defamation lawsuit against Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne. The terms of the settlement were filed with the court on Monday and the case has now been dismissed without prejudice.
Dunne is issuing an undisclosed sum to Condit and releasing an apology saying some of the statements he made about Condit were misunderstood. The lawsuit originally sought $11 million in damages.
The announcement meant Condit did not have to testify under oath as scheduled about any sexual relationship he may have had with murdered Federal Bureau of Prisons intern Chandra Levy. Condit had originally been scheduled to testify on the relationship in February, but requested a delay citing illness.
Levy disappeared in May 2001, and Condit, who represented the Modesto area of California from which she hailed, fell under a shadow of suspicion. Though police never described him as a suspect in her disappearance, in March 2002 he lost the Democratic primary race for his 18th District seat to Dennis Cardoza. Levy's body was found in a national park in Washington, D.C., in May 2002.
Condit and his family blamed Dunne's comments for the primary loss. Last month, Condit attorney Lin Wood described why Condit was suing Dunne. He said Dunne appeared on national radio and television in December 2001 and accused Condit of "frequenting Middle Eastern embassies where he engaged in sexual activity with prostitutes, and during those times, he made it clear that he wanted someone to get rid of Chandra Levy. That conveyed that Gary Condit was involved in her kidnapping and in her murder, that friends of Gary Condit's had her kidnapped, put in an airplane and dropped in the Atlantic Ocean. That's why we're suing him."
Wood said Condit did have a friendship with Levy, but did not describe the nature of their relationship.
"Gary has described that relationship as a friendship, that they were close friends. Beyond that, obviously, I'm not here to speak to the private aspects of my client's life. It wouldn't be appropriate for me to do that. But he certainly has acknowledged a friendship with Chandra Levy," Wood told FOX News' Greta Van Susteren.
In a subsequent interview on the same show, Dunne attorney Paul Licalsi said Dunne's comments never indicated that Condit asked others to get rid of Levy.
"The theory was, what was said to Dominick was, those people took it into their own hands and took her away, that Condit did not have criminal liability for that, simply that he complained about his relationship with her and complained about the pressure he was under to the wrong people," Licalsi said.
In September 2004, Condit also settled a case against three tabloid papers on the day he was supposed to testify in that case. In July 2003, Condit's wife, Carolyn, settled a lawsuit with the National Enquirer for an undisclosed amount.
FOX News' Rita Cosby contributed to this report.