What a Condumbass! Linda Bentley, Gary Condit, and the Sonoran News.

Ice-cream peddler, alleged studmuffin, and former Congressman Gary Condit...

You've gotta wonder what was going through former Congressman Gary Condit's noggin. I mean, most folks'd packed the whole sad, tawdry Chandra Levy affair deep into their mental basements, and had no idea that Condit now lives in AZ. So reporter Linda Bentley has a throwaway line about Condit in an article about his goofball brother that appears in the small but scrappy Sonoran News, and Condit decides to sue for defamation of character?

Don't know what Condit thought would happen when he pulled this bonehead move a year after the original article appeared in the freebie pub in 2005, but on July 17 Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Kristin Hoffman rightly kicked this bogus lawsuit out of court with the observation that "Substantial truth is an absolute defense in a defamation case." The result of the suit made the wire and has resulted in articles re-digging up Chandra Levy's corpse from DC's Rock Creek Park.

Keep in mind, this is the sentence Condit objected to: "Darryll Wayne Condit is the younger brother of former Democratic Congressman Gary Condit, who became the main focus in the Chandra Levy case in 2001, after lying to investigators about his affair with Levy." Hey, I don't know what the Sonoran News' readership is, but I think the Cave Creek weekly owes Condit something for the buttload of free advertising and new readership they've earned from this. Maybe a gift certificate to Baskin Robbins?

(I hate to explain a joke, but according to Wikipedia.org, "In February 2005, [Condit] started two Baskin Robbins ice cream shop franchises with his wife and children in Glendale, Arizona. In March 2006, Baskin Robbins revoked the franchising agreement, claiming the Condits owed them $14,221.29. Among the corporation's complaints was that the Condits continued to use the Baskin Robbins name after the franchises were revoked.")

Judge Hoffman's ruling also states that, "Plaintiff has not provided any admissible evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that the sentence as published was not substantially true. His affidavit submitted with his request for Rule 56 (f) relief does not deny that he lied to investigators. He objected to and did not admit or deny interrogatories regarding whether he admitted to investigators or denied to investigators that he had a “romantic and/or sexual relationship with Chandra Levy.'”

Victory is rarely so sweet. Obviously, my politics are the polar opposite of the Sonoran News, but I give them major props for going after Sheriff Joe Arpaio on a regular basis and for standing up to Condit on this bullshit. And though Linda Bentley and I continue to argue up a storm on the subject of immigration, I admire the lady's moxie on other fronts. If I wore a hat, it'd be off.

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