|Rep. Gary Condit's wife has been turned down in her demand for an apology for a Law & Order episode about a politician and a missing aide.|
The show's producers rejected Carolyn Condit's appeal and NBC, which airs the long-running series, concurred with the producers' announcement Wednesday, a network spokeswoman said.
The episode aired Feb. 6 and carried the series' standard disclaimer that the story "does not depict any actual person or event."
"We believe there's no basis for her claim. The show is fictional," said Neil Schubert, spokesman for Studios USA, which produces the series for NBC. Attorneys for Studios USA are investigating the matter and plan to respond, Schubert said.
The decision came a day after Rep. Condit lost his re-election bid for the congressional seat he has held for six terms. In the Democratic primary, he was swamped by state Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza.
Chandra Levy, 24, vanished last May. Police sources say Rep. Condit admitted having an affair with the Washington intern, but that he is not a suspect in her disappearance.
In the Law & Order episode, a 24-year-old aide to a state senator disappears from her Manhattan apartment. The ending implies that the wife of another official, the state gaming board chairman, was involved in her death.
A letter titled "Demand for Retraction" was sent to Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf and to NBC attorneys Feb. 26 by the Los Angeles-based law firm of Johnson & Rishwain, which represents Mrs. Condit.
"It is undeniable that the viewing public would identify Mrs. Condit as the wife depicted on the episode," said the letter, which calls the episode "defamatory."
Mrs. Condit wants a retraction aired that apologizes to her on behalf of NBC and states that there is no factual basis to assert that Mrs. Condit ever contacted Levy or was involved in her disappearance.
Attorney Brian Rishwain said Wednesday that the statement should be featured at the start of a Law & Order episode airing reasonably soon.
Told that the studio and network had rejected the demand, Rishwain said: "We either go away or file a lawsuit."
Rishwain said he hadn't spoken to Mrs. Condit Wednesday. She did not return messages left by The Associated Press at the family's home.
Rishwain's firm has also filed a $10 million lawsuit on behalf of Mrs. Condit over a National Enquirer headline and story that Rishwain said implied she had spoken to and attacked Levy. He said Levy and Mrs. Condit have never spoken or met, he said.
Law & Order Law & Order is known for "ripped-from-the-headlines" plots that are drawn from news stories. Last year, an episode about violence during New York's Puerto Rican Day parade provoked complaints from Hispanic groups and drew an apology from NBC.