updated 12/8/2004 10:36:49 PM ET 2004-12-09T03:36:49

Former Rep. Gary Condit must answer questions about his sexual history in his slander case against a magazine writer who suggested Condit knew more than he let on about the death of intern Chandra Levy, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling does not mean the information elicited by lawyers for Dominick Dunne, a special correspondent to Vanity Fair, will be made public. Judge Peter K. Leisure said he may order that the testimony be kept confidential.

But Condit cannot “use the court system as both a sword and a shield” by filing the $11 million lawsuit in December 2002, and then refusing to answer questions that may help Dunne’s defense, the judge wrote.

Condit refused to answer questions about his sexual relationships and his finances in a Sept. 27 deposition, the judge said.

Condit’s lawsuit claims statements by Dunne led millions of people to believe Condit was criminally involved in the disappearance and death of Levy.

After the 24-year-old U.S. Bureau of Prisons employee disappeared in 2001, Condit reportedly told police he had an affair with Levy but knew nothing of her disappearance.

Not considered a suspect
He is not considered a suspect in her unsolved death, which was ruled a homicide after her remains were discovered in a Washington, D.C., park in May 2002.

The case drew months of negative publicity and was cited as the main cause of the former California congressman’s re-election defeat in the March 2002 primary.

The lawsuit was filed after Dunne made comments on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” “ET Online” and “Larry King Live” about Levy’s disappearance.

On “ET Online” in January 2002, for example, Dunne was quoted as suggesting Levy was taken away by someone on a motorcycle as a favor to Condit, the judge said. And on “Larry King Live” in February 2002, Dunne stated, “I believe firmly that he knows more than what he has ever said,” according to the judge.

In his lawsuit, Condit said he had no involvement in the disappearance and death of Levy and no knowledge of how she was abducted and killed or who was responsible.

No ID
Lawyers for Dunne have argued in court papers that Condit’s relationship with other women shows a pattern of behavior in which Condit required women to carry no identification when they met him, the judge said.

Levy was not carrying identification when she disappeared, the judge noted.

“Dunne further claims he can use this discovery to impeach Condit, as showing he lied to authorities, the press, and the Levy family regarding all of these relationships,” the judge said.

A message left with L. Lin Wood, a lawyer for Condit, was not immediately returned.

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