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Condit denies urging anyone to mislead in Levy case

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Condit's statement said he did not try to influence flight attendant Smith's statement.  


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rep. Gary Condit issued a statement on Tuesday saying he had never "asked anyone to refrain from discussing" the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy, nor had he "suggested that anyone mislead authorities."

The California Democrat's comments were in response to a flight attendant's claim that she had a yearlong affair with Condit and that he had told her she was not required to cooperate with investigators in the Levy case.

Condit has been questioned by police about the May 1 disappearance of Levy, who is from Condit's California Congressional district and was acquainted with him. A relative of Levy has told the FBI that Levy said she was having an affair with Condit.

Condit, through his spokesmen, has denied a romantic relationship with Levy.

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Flight attendant Anne Marie Smith, 39, told Fox News that Condit urged her to sign what she called a false affidavit swearing there was nothing between them.

Smith said that she came forward because "I was concerned about my safety."

When the FBI contacted her later to ask about Levy, Smith said Condit became "upset" when she told him about the contact.

"He said, 'You don't have to talk to the media. You don't have to talk to anybody. You don't even have to talk to the FBI,'" Smith said.

If true, the allegations could put Condit at risk of charges he attempted to obstruct an investigation.

Condit, 53, is scheduled to return to Modesto -- Levy's hometown and the hub of his district -- for a Fourth of July parade, according to Mayor Carmen Sabatino. Extra security will be on hand, Sabatino said.

Condit attorney says no coercion

Condit's San Francisco attorney, Joe Cotchett, also released a statement saying that his office had provided Smith's attorney, Jim Robinson of Seattle, with a suggested statement, but that neither he nor Condit had tried to coerce her to sign a false statement.

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Anne Marie Smith  

Cotchett noted that the original allegations appeared in the tabloid Star magazine, and that his office had contacted Smith after the publication.

"She indicated it was totally out of proportion and that her roommates were paid by the Star to talk about it," Cotchett's statement said. "She was very cordial but also very, very embarrassed."

Cotchett said he had asked Smith's attorney if his client would provide a statement regarding her relationship with Condit, and that Robinson had requested a draft statement for his review.

Cotchett provided a copy of the statement that he sent to Robinson and Smith to news media. Attached to the statement was a note instructing Robinson to "edit, cut, suggest, etc."

Levy disappeared a day later than originally thought

A police source supervising the Levy investigation told CNN on Monday that computer records show Levy was in her apartment on May 1.

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Chandra Levy  

Police originally said she disappeared April 30, but an analysis of the laptop computer in Levy's apartment found she sent an e-mail message on May 1, the source said. She was last reported seen April 30 at her Washington gym.

Police have twice interviewed Condit in relation to the case.

On Monday, Assistant District of Columbia Police Chief Terrance Gainer said dogs specially trained to detect cadavers would be brought to landfills and trash bins serving the apartment and vicinity where Levy lived. The search will likely begin later this week or early next week, police said.

Police have also said they have no clues to indicate Levy might be dead but want to be thorough and are looking for any clues to her disappearance. They continue to insist the case is a missing person investigation, not a criminal investigation.






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