Attorney Mark E. Goidell once represented rapper Sean Combs, known at that time as “Puffy.”
He defended a New York man convicted of double murder. He defended a woman who falsely accused a co-worker of sexually abusing retarded patients.
Former Rep. Gary Condit, though, has proved to be one client too much.
Goidell wants a federal judge to let him out of a defamation case he brought on the California Democrat’s behalf. Facing potential sanctions for filing an allegedly frivolous lawsuit against author Dominick Dunne, Goidell agreed this week that the case never should have been brought.
“The defamation claim in this action is not warranted by existing law, or by a non-frivolous argument for new law,” Goidell said in a Jan. 15 affidavit.
But while Goidell is pushing the eject button, Condit is vowing to fight on.
Condit is already a veteran of multiple libel lawsuits — two of them still pending. His litigious persistence could prove costly, even as it illustrates the rules governing defamation and courtroom decorum.
“It’s been my observation that plaintiffs in defamation cases can become so emotionally invested that it is very, very difficult for them to disengage,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “They will pursue libel suits beyond what any normal person would do.”
Condit sued Dunne in federal court for the second time in November. He claimed that the author and television raconteur had falsely linked him to the 2001 disappearance of one-time intern Chandra Levy.
Levy was last seen alive on April 30, 2001. Her skeletal remains were found a year later in Washington’s Rock Creek Park. Her murder is still unsolved, and police have never identified a suspect.
Condit, three decades Levy’s senior, eventually told investigators that he’d had a sexual relationship with her, according to undisputed published accounts. Police never called him a suspect, but Condit’s handling of the case cost him his House seat in 2002.