- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Chandra Ann Levy have interviewed six women who said they have had romantic relationships with Rep. Gary A. Condit, who has said he is a "friend" of the missing intern's, a law enforcement source said.
The women came forward after Miss Levy was reported missing in early May, the law enforcement source said. They included a United Airlines flight attendant who said in a television interview Monday that Mr. Condit pressured her to deny their yearlong affair in a written statement.
Flight attendant Anne Marie Smith, 39, of San Francisco said in her interview on Fox News that she refused to sign the statement. Miss Smith, speaking in Seattle, also said Mr. Condit told her not to cooperate with the FBI, which had contacted her in the Levy investigation.
"We've talked to five other women other than the flight attendant," the law enforcement source said. "They are all types and ages."
Chris Murray, a spokesman for the FBI's Washington Field Office, yesterday said the agency has interviewed Miss Smith. He declined to comment further on the Levy case or the Smith interview.
Police have said publicly that Mr. Condit, who represents Miss Levy's hometown of Modesto, Calif., is not a suspect in her disappearance, which is being investigated as a missing persons case.
In a written statement yesterday, Mr. Condit denied telling Miss Smith to mislead investigators or not talk to the FBI. "I have not asked anyone to refrain from discussing this matter with authorities, nor have I suggested anyone mislead the authorities," the California Democrat's statement reads.
In addition, Mr. Condit's office in California issued a statement from the law firm representing him that disputes Miss Smith's account. Cotchett, Pitre and Simon said it e-mailed a "draft" statement to Jim Robinson, Miss Smith's attorney in Seattle, to clarify her relationship with the congressman following a tabloid magazine report about the matter.
Mr. Robinson was to review the draft statement and "edit, cut, suggest" changes before having Miss Smith sign it, the law firm statement reads. One part of the statement would have Miss Smith, under penalty of perjury, deny having had a "relationship with Congressman Condit other than being acquainted with him. I do not and have not had a romantic relationship with Congressman Condit."
Miss Levy, 24, a former intern at the Bureau of Prisons, was last seen in the District on April 30, when she canceled a gym membership near her apartment in the Dupont Circle area. Police, citing bank, phone and computer records, said this week she may have spent part of the next day in her apartment.
Detectives found no signs of a struggle in her apartment, and her money, credit cards and her driver's license were with her packed luggage.
Police twice have interviewed Mr. Condit, saying he provided useful information. Privately, law enforcement sources said he provided few details and little more than what was outlined in written statements to the media.
Authorities are trying to interview Mr. Condit's wife, Carolyn, in California. Mrs. Condit, who is reportedly critically ill, has been uncooperative in working out ground rules for talks, sources said.
The law enforcement source said Metropolitan Police detectives are coordinating with FBI agents in California to see if other women have acknowledged having affairs with Mr. Condit, 53.
In her televised interview Monday, Miss Smith did not say Mr. Condit and Miss Levy were having an affair, but she suspected he was seeing someone else, though she did not know for sure. She said she had not spoken to Mr. Condit since one or two weeks before Miss Levy vanished.
Law enforcement officials yesterday refused to say if they were investigating Mr. Condit for obstruction of justice in the wake of Miss Smith's televised statement.
"We are continuing our investigation and won't respond to rumors, innuendos or comments made by others," said Sgt. Joe Gentile, spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department. "Our focus is the disappearance of Miss Levy. We are trying to determine what happened. That is the focus of our investigation."
Spokesmen for the U.S. Attorney's Offices in the District, California and Seattle have refused to comment on the case, saying they can neither confirm nor deny a federal probe into whether Mr. Condit has interfered with the investigation.
"If you've got someone encouraging a potential witness to not be truthful about any information that could be regarded as important … to the investigation, that could qualify as obstruction of justice," said former federal prosecutor David Schertler, who worked in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District for 12 years.
An obstruction of justice charge "covers a lot of different types of conduct that interfere with authorities being able to carry out their investigation," said Mr. Schertler, who served as chief of the homicide section before becoming a defense attorney in 1996.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide