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Tag: Chandra Levy

15 Years Later, Ex-Congressman Gary Condit Decides to Lie About His Relationship With Chandra Levy

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-27-00-am

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ok, so it’s an election year where both sides in the presidential race have been endlessly accusing one another of lying. Perhaps, having been out of the game for a while,  former Congressman Gary Condit, a blue dog Democrat from California, feels left out and has the itch to lie, too.

I’m referring to his high-profile interview on Dr. Phil this week in which he insisted that he had a platonic relationship with intern Chandra Levy. He says police tried to frame him.

“I saw her one time outside the office, at a restaurant, and she came by my condo once,” Condit said of Levy on Dr. Phil. “Maybe twice. Yeah, I think it was twice she came by. Once again, I want to make this clear: There’s nothing unusual about someone coming by my condo. A lot of people did. People have made some speculation that that means something special … Both times she had a valid reason to come by.”

While at the Washington Post, I was one of the lead reporters who covered the tragic disappearance of Chandra Levy in 2001 and the discovery of her skeletal remains in 2002 in Rock Creek Park in northwest D.C.

Back in 2001, I first reported that Condit, during his first interview with D.C. police, admitted that Levy, who was from his California Congressional district, had slept over his apartment in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington. She was a 24-year-old intern with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Condit was then asked by police: So you were having an affair, to which he replied: “You figure it out.” At the time, details of the police interview were confirmed by five sources.

As the summer wore on, D.C. police and the FBI insisted that he was not a suspect. But they continued to investigate him, and follow up with interviews. He was certainly a person of interest, though there were some in law enforcement who felt strongly that he did not harm Levy.

Still, things weren’t going so well for Condit. The public was suspicious. (The next year he lost his bid for re-election).

His handlers, including the very aggressive and able Washington lawyer, Abbe Lowell, decided it would be best for him to take to the airwaves and clear things up.  ABC’s Connie Chung was granted the interview, which was a big get at the time.

On Aug. 23, 2001, the interview aired. It was a disaster.

Chandra Levy

Chandra Levy

A source who knew Condit told me that he was supposed begin the interview by reading a statement and admitting that he had an affair with Levy. The thought was that such candidness would give him credibility when he denied having anything to do with her disappearance.

Instead, he decided to forgo the statement and answer Chung’s questions.

It was a public relations nightmare. I watched the interview in the newsroom in near shock. I couldn’t believe he was being so evasive.

Chung asked if he had anything to do with her disappearance.

He responded: “No, I didn’t.”

She eventually got around to asking about the relationship.

CHUNG: Can you describe your relationship? What exactly was your relationship with Chandra Levy?

CONDIT: Well, I met Chandra … last, um, October. And we became very close. I met her in Washington, DC.

CHUNG Very close, meaning …?

CONDIT: We had a close relationship. I liked her very much.

CHUNG: May I ask you, was it a sexual relationship?

CONDIT: Well, Connie, I’ve been married for 34 years, and I’ve not been a … a perfect man, and I’ve made my share of mistakes. But um, out of respect for my family, and out of a specific request from the Levy family, I think it’s best that I not get into those details uh, about Chandra Levy.

If there were a time to plead his case, and deny having the relationship, it would have been then. But Condit knew better. So did the public.

Chung, who knew she had a ratings winner, pressed on. It was the biggest story of the summer.

CHUNG :  What we’re talking about is whether or not you will come forward to uh, lift this veil of suspicion that seems to have clouded you. Can you tell us … did you have a romantic relationship with Chandra Levy?

CONDIT:  Well, once again, I’ve been married 34 years. I have not been a perfect man. I have made mistakes in my life. But out of respect for my family, out of a specific request by the Levy family, it is best that I not get into the details of the relationship.

CHUNG:  Can you tell me this: was Chandra Levy in love with you? Were you in love with her?

CONDIT:  Well, I don’t know that she was in love with me. She never said so. And I was not in love with her.

CHUNG: Did she want to marry you and have your child?

CONDIT:  I only knew Chandra Levy for five months. And in that five months’ period, we never had a discussion about a future, about children, about marriage. Any of those items never came up in that five-month period.

CHUNG:  Did you ever make promises to her?

CONDIT: Never.

CHUNG: Did she want you to leave your wife?

CONDIT:  No. I mean, I’ve been married for 34 years, and I intend to stay married to that woman as long as she’ll have me.

And, oh yes, by the way, if there’s still any doubt,  investigators recovered a pair of  Chandra Levy’s underwear with Condit’s semen.

Condit has now written a book on his experiences titled: “Actual Malice: A True Crime Political Thriller.”

Obviously, he’ll sell more books if he’s viewed as a victim rather than a married Congressman full of b.s. who carried on an affair while his dutiful wife stayed back home in Modesto, Calif.

Eventually, the focus shifted to Ingmar Guandique, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador,  who ended up being convicted of Levy’s murder in 2010. He was  sentenced to 60 years in prison, but the conviction was tossed and a new trial was ordered. In July, shortly, before the trial was to begin, the U.S. Attorney’s Office  dropped the charges, saying it couldn’t prove the case.

Some people still think Guandique did it. After all, he had previously attacked female joggers in the park before Levy disappeared.

But others are once again asking: Who killed Chandra Levy?

U.S. Attorney’s Office Drops Murder Charge Against Man Previously Convicted in Death of Chandra Levy

Ingmar Guandique

Ingmar Guandique

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In what comes as a big surprise, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington on Thursday announced it was dropping murder charges against Ingmar Guandique, the man who was convicted in the 2001 killing of Washington intern Chandra Levy, the Washington Post reports.

Guandique had been convicted in the murder in 2010, but a judge granted a retrial.

The Washington Post reports that the latest twist in the case centered on a key witness, Armando Morales, who testified against Guandique in the first trial.

Morales, a convicted murderer, confessed to a neighbor after he was released from prison, that he lied in 2010 when he testified in trial that his cellmate, Guandique, had confessed to killing Levy.

The Levy case got national attention when it was learned that she was dating then-Congressman Gary Condit, who was initially a person of interest in the case.

Before his conviction in the Levy case, Guandique had already been serving time for attacking two joggers in Rock Creek Park in northwest Washington where Levy’s body was discovered in 2002.

 

U.S. Atty’s Office Says Chandra Levy Killer Poses “Grave Danger” to Community; Asks for Life Sentence

Ingmar Guandique

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It hardly comes as a surprise that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking a judge to sentence Chandra Levy’s killer to life in prison without parole.

The Washington Post reports that the prosecutors, in asking for a life sentence,  wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday that convicted killer Ingmar Guandique, 29, “demonstrated predatory behavior that seems incapable of rehabilitation” and he “posed a grave danger” to the community.

Sentencing is set for Friday for Guandique, who was convicted in November of killing Levy, 24, who vanished in 2001. Her skeletal remains were found in Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington a year later. Charges were filed against Guandique while he was in prison serving a 10 year sentence for attacking two woman in that park the same year Levy disappeared.

Chandra Levy

The sentencing memo written by prosecutors Amanda Haines, Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez and Chris Kavanaugh also noted that Guandique had attacked a woman at knifepoint in El Salvador before coming to the U.S. at age 19 and that he masturbated in front of a female prison guard, the Post reported.

Guandique’s attorney’s have asked for a new trial.

Prosecutor: Chandra Levy Deserves Justice

Chandra Levy

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — The nine-year march down a tortuous path toward justice for the Chandra Levy family, prosecutors and investigators came down to final arguments today in D.C. Superior Court in the murder trial of an illegal immigrant.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines, armed with no physical evidence to speak of, told jurors to use common sense and convict Ingmar Guandique, 29, of murder in Levy’s death .Haines pointed to his history — convictions for two assaults on joggers in Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington in close proximity to where Levy’s skeletal remains were found one year after her disappearance, according to an account in The Washington Post.

And Haines mentioned the testimony of Guandique’s cellmate, who said Guandique confessed to killing Levy. Guandique pleaded guilty in 2002 to attacking the two joggers and received a 10-year sentence.

“She’s been waiting nine years for justice,” Haines told jurors of Levy. “Just because it’s been nine years coming doesn’t mean it should be denied.” She called the slaying “ghastly.”

To read more click here.

Gary Condit Refuses to Discuss Relationship with Slain Intern Chandra Levy

Gary Condit in a desposition in 2004/CBS

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ex-California congressman Gary A. Condit,graying and looking far less youthful than he did nine years ago, took the witness stand Monday in D.C. Superior Court in the murder trial of Chandra Levy and refused to discuss his relationship with the slain intern.

The Washington Post reports that he was asked at least three times if he’d had an intimate relationship with Levy, but he refused to go down that path, as he has in the past. Investigators during the investigation linked the DNA from semen in Levy’s underwear to Condit, who is now 62 and lives in Arizona.

“I don’t believe it’s relevant,” Condit said at one point while on the stand, according to the Post. “I am not going to respond to that question out of privacy for myself and Chandra.”

Ingmar Guandique, 29, has been charged in Levy’s 2001 death. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence for attacking two joggers in Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington, not far from where Levy’s skeletal remains were found in 2002.

The Post reported that Condit did testify that he didn’t kill Levy and he had nothing to do with her disappearance. He called her a friend and constituent.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which handles both federal and local crimes in the District.

To read more click here.

Ex-Congressman Linked to Chandra Levy Writing a Book

Allan Lengel, editor of ticklethewire.com, covered the first two years of the Chandra Levy investigation  for the Washington Post.

Gary Condit/CBS

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In a law office in an upscale section of Los Angeles, an unfinished yet potentially explosive book manuscript by a controversial figure, former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, sits in a safe.

“I’ve read it. I think it’s one of the most dramatic stories I’ve read,” said Condit’s attorney and spokesman, Bert Fields, whose safe holds the tantalizing manuscript — Condit’s account of his drama after being linked to intern Chandra Levy. “It’s a Shakespearean drama.”

Condit was once a politically invincible congressman from Central California, but his career imploded after he was romantically linked to the 24-year-old Levy. But Condit, 62, is returning to the limelight as jury selection gets under way this week in D.C. Superior Court for the trial of Ingmar Guandique, the illegal immigrant accused of killing Levy.

Chandra Levy

Stories mentioning Condit’s name are suddenly popping up. And on Monday, the first day of jury selection, prosecutors mentioned some names that might surface during trial — and Condit’s was one of them.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Investigators in Chandra Levy Case Wrote Letters Under Fake Female Name to Suspect

Chandra Levy

Chandra Levy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Investigators wrote letters to the accused murderer of intern Chandra Levy, posing as  a woman, hoping to get a confession, the Washington Post reported. They never got a confession.

Still, the defense team raised the issue Thursday in a pretrial hearing in D.C. Superior Court, and unsuccessfully tried to get the judge to dismiss the charges, saying D.C. police orchestrated the “ruse” and made contact with the client, Ingmar Guandique, without going through his attorneys — a violation of his rights, the Post reported.

“We don’t know if this action was hatched with the assistance of prosecutors or done by police alone,” defense attorney Santha Sonenberg said, according to the Post. “Knowing [Guandique] had asserted his attorney rights and did not want to talk about it, is offensive.”

Judge Gerald Fisher did not dismiss the charges, but said he would review the matter to determine if he should take action, the Post said. Trial is set for Monday.

The Post reported that the officers wrote the letters to Guandique in prison under the name “Maria Lopez” between 2004 and 2005, but Guandique never confessed to anything, the Post reported.

Guandique, 29, is already serving a 10-year sentence for attacking two women in Rock Creek Park in 2001.

To read more click here.

U.S. Atty’s Office Tries to Block Polygraphs in Upcoming Chandra Levy Trial

Chandra Levy

Chandra Levy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The polygraph issue is a messy one.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking that the judge in the upcoming Chandra Levy murder on Oct. 18 block two polygraph exams from being introduced into evidence, the Washington Post reports.

A major problem, prosecutors contend, was that the polygraph exams weren’t given by a bilingual examiner and instead were done by an interpreter, a method considered far less effective and reliable.

According to a filing in D. C. Superior Court, prosecutors say defendant Ingmar Guandique, 29, took a polygraph test Feb. 4, 2002 and was asked whether he was involved in the disappearance of Chandry Levy, whose skeletal remains were found a couple months later in Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington, the Post reported.

Guandique responded “no” and the polygraph examiner found he was “not deceptive,” the Post reported. The test was given while Guandique was in prison for attacking two joggers in Rock Creek park.

The other exam involves an inmate who claims Guandique told him he stabbed Levy and was paid $25,000 by now ex-Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.).

The polygraph examiner found the witness was being deceptive, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST