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Pressure Grows on Congressman Gary Condit in Levy Case

Aired July 25, 2001 - 12:30   ET


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CO-HOST: Today on BURDEN OF PROOF: New information surfaces about Gary Condit's possible meeting with the FBI, as political pressure mounts against the California congressman.


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: New development in the Chandra Levy investigation. Sources tell CNN that Congressman Gary Condit has agreed to help an FBI profiler create psychological portrait of the former federal intern.



CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: The FBI is putting together a victim proper file of Levy, her habits and possible vulnerabilities.



BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now that he has admitted to investigators, according to police sources, that he did have a romantic relationship with Chandra Levy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The truth hasn't been told, the whole truth hasn't come out, there's hasn't been the cooperation.



SUSAN LEVY, CHANDRA LEVY'S MOTHER: We are in pain, empty and pain into.

ROBERT LEVY, CHANDRA LEVY'S FATHER: We just want to do everything we can to find her.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: Plus, the mother of two young girls missing since July 6 speaks to BURDEN OF PROOF.

ANNOUNCER: This is BURDEN OF PROOF, with Roger Cossack and Greta Van Susteren

VAN SUSTEREN: Hello, and welcome to BURDEN OF PROOF. The search for missing intern Chandra Levy again turns to Congressman Gary Condit. Condit will reportedly help an FBI profiler create a psychological portrait of Levy. That meeting could happen this week.

ROGER COSSACK, CO-HOST: Investigators are interested in determining Levy's state of mind before she disappeared. Washington police also want to interview Condit again. Sources say they want more details about where he was and when on May 1, the last day anyone heard from Levy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us today: Former assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Luque; Bill Ritchie, the former chief of detectives for the Washington, D.C. police department and former assistant United States Attorney Marty Rogers.

Nancy, first to you. They want to speak, the police, to Congressman Condit a fourth time. If you were his lawyer, would that happen, do you think?

NANCY LUQUE, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: That's a hard question. He's gone down a certain path that I might have not gone down had I been advising him.


LUQUE: He has been in this mode of giving them -- trying to give them what they want for the last couple of weeks.

VAN SUSTEREN: Not quite. Wait a second, first...


VAN SUSTEREN: Nancy, I remember when you were prosecutor...

LUQUE: He's let them...


LUQUE: ... have lie detector tests, so now, it seems to me he's on a course of cooperation. For him to hold back now would seem strange, and in fact, it seems to me once you are on that course, you have to keep doing it, which is one reason not to do it.


VAN SUSTEREN: But didn't he sort of cook his goose with the police in being -- not deceptive, but withholding information. Perhaps he was deceptive about his relationship. I mean, hasn't he sort of cooked his goose? He needs sort of one final cleansing, perhaps, but the problem is that having given four interviews, you never say the same thing four times, that's his biggest problem.

LUQUE: Absolutely, and that's the problem now, because really good note-taking occurred and unless he remembers exactly how to say the same thing the same way every time, it is going to be problematic in the fourth time. But just I don't see how now he can stop cooperating, which is why America -- you know, this notion of cooperating with the police department has gotten an interesting spin in the press like everyone should always do it. Well, no. The police are not always the impartial arbitrators to whom you should tell everything. I mean, there are real decisions to be made whether to cooperate with the police and under what circumstances to do that.

COSSACK: Wow, that does bring up some interesting questions, doesn't it, Bill Ritchie, former chief of detectives...

WILLIAM RITCHIE, FORMER COMMANDER, D.C. HOMICIDE: See, we're talking about a situation where a young lady is missing, and I cannot think of any circumstance where people who may have information should not talk to the police department. There are other cases where the suspect or person being questioned may not want to answer, but in this case, if you have nothing to hide, that grieving family -- Dr. Levy and Mrs. Levy, they are grieving the loss of their child, at the same time trying to keep hope their daughter is alive.

VAN SUSTEREN: That may be true in a sort of pure sense, but I've got to tell you, I don't care how many times the police come out and say the congressman is not suspect, I actually think that's a big fat lie. I don't think they wouldn't keep going back to talk to him. Now, he's probably totally innocent of anything. he's now boxed himself in by virtue of his own problem that he's been a serial liar with the police.


COSSACK: What if he wasn't? Let's take the position that he's not a suspect. Let's take the position...

VAN SUSTEREN: How can you say -- why do they keep going back to him?

COSSACK: I'm going to tell you. I'll tell you why. Let's take a position that say, you know, we've now investigated this case, and one person that we can find out that probably knew her well, that she was closely connected to, that may provide us with some information on how to find her that we don't consider a suspect is Congressman Gary Condit.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you believe that?

COSSACK: I believe that as much as I believe anything else.

VAN SUSTEREN: You believe he's not a suspect in the minds of the police?

COSSACK: I will tell you this: I believe that he is a suspect along with several other people, but I do not believe that the evidence, at least that I know they have right now, I didn't believe he's in jeopardy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Marty, I want to ask two questions: one, whether or not you think he's suspect and two, if he is named a formal suspect, doesn't than that create problems for the police in terms of questioning him?

MARTY ROGERS, FORMER ASSISTANT. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, a), I don't believe he's a suspect.

VAN SUSTEREN: You believe the police.

ROGERS: I believe the police in this instance. I don't always believe the police, but I believe the police in this instance that he is not a suspect. And one of the reasons is, in my view why I think that, is because he sort of doesn't seem to have the wherewithal to have, you know, kidnapped someone and perhaps done them harm. He just doesn't seem to be that kind.



ROGERS: He's just sort of a visitor to this city. I mean, he doesn't know, like the rest of us who live here, where you go to do this sort of thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Wait a second, Marty, let me play devil's advocate with you and not to be unfair to the congressman, who he is not -- he certainly is presumed innocent, but to play devil's advocate with you, you say he doesn't have the wherewithal. He obviously found the wherewithal to drive across the bridge with someone else and discard a box hours before a search. Not a good...

ROGERS: But that's an easy thing to do.


COSSACK: I agree that that's not great thing to do, but that doesn't take much wherewithal.

ROGERS: It takes no wherewithal, but I do think it was very, very stupid to did that because the next question you ask if he's getting rid of the watch box because it was a gift from yet another woman, what else did he get rid of, maybe not in that dumpster in Alexandria, but no place elsewhere no one saw him do it.

COSSACK: The funny thing about this, Nancy, is that this is a guy who on one hand, keeps trying to cooperate, but on the other hand, keeps seeming to act in a more unusual -- I don't want to say guilty way, but in more of a way that keeps bringing attention to it.

ROGERS: That's because, as somebody already pointed out, this is not a pure situation where he's trying to cooperate in the investigation of Levy's disappearance. It also has other things that he's tried trying to hide. Ordinarily, if somebody lies about something you presume they are lying about that thing for a particular reason.

COSSACK: For a particular reason.

ROGERS: In this case, where he's lying seems to be for reasons other than to do with the disappearance of Miss Levy.


ROGERS: And those inferences that people are drawing...

COSSACK: The combination of two is possible.

ROGERS: I don't believe, having prosecuted a lot murder cases in my time, I do not believe...

COSSACK: Come on, officer.


RITCHIE: I actually agree. I've watched the congressman. I do not believe that he physically had anything to do with the disappearance, but did he have anything emotionally to do with it, and I think that is what the police department and the FBI want to look at.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's not a crime, though. That's not a crime.

RITCHIE: But he continues to draw attention himself such as the watch box incident.

VAN SUSTEREN: His lawyer, Abbe Lowell, must be having a fit at the -- I mean, we've all had clients who were less than candid...

COSSACK: This is not the moment of happiness for Abbe Lowell, to find out that his client...

VAN SUSTEREN: No, and Abbe Lowell's got a difficult client.


COSSACK: All right, let's take a break. Does a grand jury need evidence of a crime to take action? So what would a grand jury need to investigate this case? Let's find out about that when we come back.


Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has filed two lawsuits against the company that promotes the television psychic hotline of "Miss Cleo." The lawsuits allege 94 violations of Missouri's no call law. If found guilty, the company faces fines of $5,000 per violation.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSSACK: It has been reported that some of the residents in Chandra Levy's building have been reluctant to speak with the police. So what happens when potential witnesses don't want to talk to the police and specific documents are needed?

Nancy, let's talk about the grand jury. First of all, a grand jury has certain powers and other powers. Is there a grand jury impaneled all the time in Washington, D.C., and what do they do?

LUQUE: Yes, in fact, there's just been a recent report out of the court of excellence saying that we have too many grand jurors impaneled for too many times. Generally, there are four on the local side and three on the federal side.

Presumably, this would be a local grand jury, because they're investigating what is called a local crime, murder. Murder is not a federal crime.

The question that I have is why? The police have stated there's no criminal investigation, really, because they don't have evidence of a crime. Therefore, there's nothing really to investigate.

COSSACK: Wait. Suppose they are looking to find out if there's evidence of a crime? Hypothetically, let's just...

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you do that? Can you look for a crime?

You can.

LUQUE: You can, but they don't. I ran the grand jury in a district...


COSSACK: That's why we asked you to come on this show.


VAN SUSTEREN: I knew that was the problem here.

LUQUE: It didn't happen before, but it certainly could happen now.


They have plenty of crimes to investigate that are crimes where...

COSSACK: Hold on a second. Let me finish. Suppose that there are some people that live in her apartment building, and the police want to talk to them, and they walk out and say we just don't want to talk to you, OK? Suppose the police want to get phone records. Can they go to the grand jury and say they need some information. We would like to subpoena neighbor X and neighbor Y, and we would also like to subpoena the phone records.

LUQUE: Absolutely -- if the police will stop saying there's no investigation here. They can't have it both ways.

VAN SUSTEREN: Bill, is there an investigation here?

RITCHIE: Absolutely, there's an investigation going on. While you talked about Mr. Condit not being referred to as a suspect right now, he is a suspect. I understand the legal technical reasons not formally to call him that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which are?

RITCHIE: So that you don't have to be concerned with Miranda. The whole ball game changes when he's a suspect.

LUQUE: You don't have to read him his rights. You don't have to make sure that he understands that he could be harming himself when he makes statements.


VAN SUSTEREN: Marty, is there any function for the grand jury? Would it help at all?

ROGERS: Yes, what Roger was saying. If there are people who live in that building who don't want to talk to the police -- and they have every right not to -- once they get a subpoena to the grand jury, they don't have a right not to talk to the prosecutor who questions them. The police, of course, are not in the grand jury, but the prosecutor knows what questions to ask.

The only way they can get out of testifying in the grand jury is if they assert a privilege, like their Fifth Amendment privilege not to incriminate themselves.

VAN SUSTEREN: Marty, here's the problem: You have an adult who has vanished, and -- I know it's inconceivable to me -- it's possible she's decided she's had it, she's out of here. I'd rather be in Paris, sitting in the cafe, having cup of coffee.

ROGERS: So would we.

VAN SUSTEREN: Right, so would we.

How can you use a grand jury to investigate with no crime?

ROGERS: You don't have to. You don't have to have a crime to investigate it.

LUQUE: Yes, you do. You've got to have probable cause to believe a crime has occurred in order to investigate in the grand jury.

ROGERS: But probable cause is such a low threshold.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do we have probable cause now to believe a murder has occurred?


COSSACK: It could be kidnapping.

LUQUE: What's the other crime? Kidnapping. Do we have probable cause to believe there's been a kidnapping? Do we have probable cause to believe there's been a murder?

VAN SUSTEREN: Let's ask our police officer. Bill, would you agree?

RITCHIE: I agree 100 percent. Are we going to open up a grand jury on other the other 500 missing persons in the District of Columbia? Absolutely not.

LUQUE: That's exactly right.

COSSACK: But that's not a good reason. That's not a good reason. Perhaps you should open up a grand jury on the other 500 missing people.

RITCHIE: But it will never happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let's get something straight. Grand jury's are a terrifying thing for people. You open a grand jury investigation into anything and everything.

COSSACK: Wait a minute -- it's a terrifying thing to bring somebody who's a neighborhood of Chandra Levy and ask when was the last time you saw her? What's so terrifying about that.

LUQUE: That's not a function of a grand jury. That's the function of a police department. A grand jury is supposed to investigate crime. There's supposed to be probable cause laid out in front of the grand jury that a crime has occurred. In fact, that's what the law says.


COSSACK: There is not a judge in town that would not find probable cause in this case.

ROGERS: Right, but probable cause is the standard by which the grand jury votes to indict. Probable cause is not the standard by which they open up a grand jury investigation.

LUQUE: In the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney's Office, the policy is that if you did not...

ROGERS: That's the policy. That's not the law.

LUQUE: Why should you change the policy in this particular case?

ROGERS: Because the police department is being stiff armed by people who won't talk to them or give them records, perhaps.

LUQUE: I have seen no evidence of that. VAN SUSTEREN: Bill, let me ask but the relationship between the U.S. Attorney's Office and the police department in this case. Do you have a sense that they are working together well, and also with the FBI, or are there political problems?

RITCHIE: There's no doubt in my mind that the U.S. Attorney's Office is giving some guidance to the police department on how to proceed in this case. When you have an individual that is not a suspect who has an attorney, and you want to interact with this person, who else is going to provide the legal guidance if not the U.S. Attorney's office.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of the fact that it seems that the congressman's willing to help the FBI in this profile but seems to have a little reservation in talking more with the police?

RITCHIE: Well, I think his attorney, I believe, is trying to wedge a divide between the police department and the FBI, for who knows what reason. If you are facing a strong team, you try to break that team up. But really doesn't matter, because, one, the Metropolitan Police Department has the investigative jurisdiction, they have asked the FBI for assistance. The Metropolitan Police Department does not have an individual trained to do the forensic or the psychological profiling. Therefore, you rely on the FBI.

But I guarantee you the Metropolitan Police Department will be close by. They will have provided the information to the FBI, to get the information. And they are going to get the results.

VAN SUSTEREN: Of course, they get nods from both Marty and Nancy as you speak.

COSSACK: And well from me, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: I skip yours. I see yours all the time.

When we come back, missing in America. We'll talk to the mother of Tionda and Diamond Bradley, two little girls missing in Chicago since July 6.


VAN SUSTEREN: Welcome back to BURDEN OF PROOF. Ten-year-old Tionda Bradley and her 3-year-old sister Diamond have been missing since morning of July 6. The two disappeared from their apartment sometime between 6:00 and 11:00 a.m. Joining us today from Chicago is their mother, Tracey Bradley, and Al Kindle, the chief of staff for the Fourth Ward Chicago alderman.

Tracey, first to you. How come you can't pinpoint, to help the investigation, the time of their disappearance? It's sort of a five- hour span?

TRACEY BRADLEY, MOTHER OF MISSING CHILDREN: During that time -- like I said, I left them the house at 6:30 that morning, and during that period of time I called them at 8:00, 8:07 and I didn't get an answer, so I suspected they were asleep.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, do they have like a baby-sitter or was the 10-year-old watching the three-year-old?

BRADLEY: The 10-year-old was watching the three-year-old.

COSSACK: Tracey, tell us about your children, describe them for us, your two daughters and tell us what kind of young girls they were.

BRADLEY: Actually, Tionda, she was an athlete. She loves dancing, she loves running track, she jumps rope, she loves riding her bike. She likes laughing and joking around at times. She likes playing and a lot of things that she do just remind you of a little girl that age would do, you know. Like I said, again, she loves riding bike, jumping, dancing, she likes singing songs that I sing and songs that she likes to sing.

As far as Diamond, Diamond like little bow-wow, my dog walk with me now. That's the song that she sings and she enjoys singing. She likes playing with her dolls, and she jump rope a little bit, they teach her, and other than that we all just play.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tracey, obviously this Chandra Levy has gotten enormous amount of attention here in Washington, D.C. Are the police giving your case attention, the search for your children in the city of Chicago?


VAN SUSTEREN: You are satisfied what the police are doing?


COSSACK: Al, tell us what the community is doing in support of Tracey, and to try to find her daughters?

AL KINDLE, CHICAGO CITY OFFICIAL: In Chicago, we have a minister (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who, from day one, has been in what we call Lake Royal Village, holding nightly vigils in Lake Royal Village. Each night, the community comes together, they pray. The community is going out doing searches, searching in abandoned buildings. They have started information leafletting at the L stops, at traffic stops.

We banded together now at the alderman's office to coordinate a national campaign to get -- to figure out the image of the children, get as many people aware and knowledgeable of the case and keep it in the forefront as best we can. We feel the kids are alive and they're somewhere.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tracey, what is your theory as to what may have happened to the children? Were they kidnapped? Did they wander off? Do you have any sort of theory as to where they might be?

BRADLEY: Well, like I say my children don't go with anybody unless they know someone. Someone has my kids at this time. And I hope, to make a plea, if you are out there and have my children please bring them home. I need my children. I love my children, Diamond and Tionda, as well as I love Victoria and Rita. They need their sisters.

Please, if there's anything that you know or anyone out there have seen my children, please call. Please call this number, 1-312- 745-6007 and if you see anything or the person that has my kids reach out, please reach out and call. If anyone -- if you guys out there that see, if eye, hear that means ear, open heart that means a heart you can call and keep in contact. Just dial 911, please, please.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tracey, have the police canvassed your entire apartment building or your neighborhood knocked on doors and asked virtually everybody.


VAN SUSTEREN: And there are no clues.


VAN SUSTEREN: Absolutely not.

KINDLE: Well, there has been some clues, but not all that we can, obviously, discuss publicly. The police as well as the community have been going door-to-door, doing as much as they can to attempt to get the word out. Of course, we are testifying until they are found, we plan not to leave any stone unturned.

COSSACK: Al, is the police department still continuing its full cooperation with you and your community in looking for these young girls?

KINDLE: Not only that, they have intensified it. The Church of Garden Christ, they're going to enlarge a statewide initiative. NAACP will be launching a nationwide initiative, and yes, they are. They are continuing to work with us. This weekend. we'll be getting out another 30 to 50,000 flyers going door-to-door trying to get the word out.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I suppose if there's any sort of silver lining in any of this Chandra Levy stuff is that cases like Tracey Bradley's children are at least being publicized, and the many other thousands who are missing.

BRADLEY: I want to thank you so, Miss Levy's case is not taking away from us because, it actually added because of the interest, people want to make the dichotomy between black and white issue but...


VAN SUSTEREN: It's an issue of missing children and missing adults. And that's all the time we have for today. Thanks to our guests, and thank you for watching.

COSSACK: Join us again tomorrow for another edition of BURDEN OF PROOF. We'll see you then.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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