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Enquirer And Condit´s Wife Wrestle In Court

Lawyers for Representative Gary Condit´s wife and the National Enquirer are wrangling in Fresno over whether the weekly tabloid can legally be called a “newspaper.”

The decision could affect a federal judge´s ruling on the tabloid´s motion to have a suit she filed thrown out.

The tabloid says Carolyn Condit never demanded a retraction before she filed a $10-million libel action against the publication. California law gives newspapers a chance to correct mistakes by printing corrections or retractions before lawsuits are filed.

Defense attorney Thomas Kelley says the Enquirer is not the same paper it was in 1976 when Carol Burnett successfully sued. It now covers breaking news and emphasizes beating other papers.

U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger listened to testimony yesterday. Condit alleges the tabloid libeled her when it reported last August that she verbally attacked Chandra Levy during a telephone call days before the intern´s disappearance last year.