FBI, cops quiz Condit's wife; lawyer rips media
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- District of Columbia police and the FBI interviewed the wife of Rep. Gary Condit Thursday morning about the disappearance of a 24-year-old former intern who was a friend of the congressman.
Carolyn Condit met with law enforcement officials "to provide whatever information she could," said Abbe Lowell, attorney for the California congressman. Mrs. Condit was in Washington visiting her husband at the time Chandra Levy disappeared.
Through aides, Condit, a 53-year-old father of two, has acknowledged a friendship with Levy but has denied speculation about an affair. Levy is from Modesto, California, part of Condit's congressional district.
Levy was last reported seen at a Washington gym April 30, although police have since discovered she evidently sent an e-mail message from her laptop computer in her apartment on May 1. She had recently completed an internship at the federal Bureau of Prisons.
It was revealed Thursday that a copy of a videotape taken from a security camera showing Levy at a 7-Eleven convenience store in suburban Washington on April 29 had been turned over to District of Columbia police by private investigators working for the Levy family. The footage, according to a source, shows Levy making routine purchases and chatting with the clerk.
Lowell issued a statement Thursday blasting the news media for its effort to "expose highly personal and private Condit family matters" and to "dissect and mischaracterize" his personal life. He said a public relations officer had been brought in to handle news media calls.
"None of these matters pertain to Ms. Levy's disappearance or the ability of law enforcement to determine what has happened to her," Lowell said. "Unlike some, Congressman Condit remains singularly focused on what is and remains the central mission at this time -- locating Chandra Levy. Congressman Condit hopes and prays for Chandra Levy's safe return."
Neither Condit nor anyone else has been named as a suspect, and the D.C. police chief said investigators continue to treat the disappearance as a missing person case.
"We don't have anything to date to show us that it's anything other than that," Police Chief Charles Ramsey said Thursday. "That's the one thing we know we have is a missing person. We're continuing to interview people. We're following leads. Leads are still coming in, but most of them are not leading us anywhere."
A former chauffeur of Condit's, Vince Flammini, said FBI agents asked him whether he believes the congressman could have killed Levy.
Flammini, who was recently let go by the congressman, said he told agents "not in a million years" and said he did not believe Condit had anything to do with Levy's disappearance.
"But he would drive her to the brink, of making her think that he loved her so much that she couldn't handle it," Flammini said in an interview with CNN Thursday. "She might have been a little weaker than people think."
Ramsey said, however, he doubted Levy had committed suicide.
"Most likely at this point, I think she either met with foul play or she left on her own accord," Ramsey said in an interview with WTOP, a Washington talk radio station. "I think the odds of her taking her own life diminish as time goes on, because ... you can't kill yourself, then bury yourself."
A law enforcement source knowledgeable about the Levy investigation told CNN Wednesday that D.C. detectives and the FBI were interested in knowing if there are "other women" who may have had romantic relationships with Condit.
"We are not searching for them," the source said. But if any women come forward, "we want to hear how they feel he treated them to see if we get any feeling about whether Chandra Levy would have harmed herself."
Ramsey said his department is interested in any "relevant" information that might help find Levy, but he criticized the attention being focused by others on Condit's romantic life.
"We're not the sex police here," he told reporters. "We're trying to investigate a missing person."
The chief said law enforcement authorities have interviewed 100 people in connection with the disappearance of Levy, but conceded that most of the information they have gathered is "not leading us anywhere."
Ramsey said the case has been complicated by the fact Condit is one of the people police have questioned in connection with the case, a fact that has generated enormous publicity.
"It just makes it more difficult," Ramsey said in the WTOP interview. "It makes it more complicated. It just hampers your ability to investigate."
"We all hope and pray that she's alive," the police chief said. "The good news is we haven't found anything that indicates she's met with foul play. The bad news is that we haven't found anything at all, period.
"So, the longer it goes, the more concerned we get. And granted, when you look at it, you know, the odds are not real good. But there are a lot of people in this country that come up missing and again at some later point in time they show up for whatever reason."
Condit canceled appearances at Fourth of July parades in his district Wednesday, including one in Modesto. Parade officials said an aide to Condit told them the congressman did not want to be a distraction at the festivities. Lowell said Condit was accompanying his wife to Washington for her meeting with investigators.
Condit has been interviewed twice by authorities about the disappearance. D.C. Police sources said Condit neglected to mention in the first interview that his wife was in town when Levy disappeared. Because she was, police wanted to interview her to see what she might know, the sources said.
Condit's decision to skip the parades came after a flight attendant, Anne Marie Smith, came forward earlier this week and said she had had an affair with the congressman, and he asked her to lie about it.
Without mentioning Smith by name, Condit in a statement Tuesday said, "I have repeatedly urged anyone who has any information that can help police find Chandra Levy to come forward, tell all they know, and be as forthcoming as possible.
"I have not asked anyone to refrain from discussing this matter with authorities nor have I suggested anyone mislead the authorities."
CNN National Correspondent Bob Franken contributed to this report.
|Back to the top|