Rep. Gary A. Condit pressured an airline attendant to sign a false affidavit denying the two had a romantic relationship in an effort to stymie any investigation of his involvement in the disappearance of intern Chandra Ann Levy, Fox News reported yesterday.
Anne Marie Smith, 39, said Mr. Condit’s attorney, Joseph Cotchett, and a private investigator tried to make her sign the false affidavit and warned her not to cooperate with the FBI.
Miss Smith said Mr. Condit knew the affidavit was false but thought it might be helpful if he ever faced legal trouble about Miss Levy’s disappearance.
Family and friends of Miss Levy, 24, have said they suspect she and Mr. Condit, who is married, had a romantic relationship. Mr. Condit, a California Democrat whose district includes Miss Levy’s hometown of Modesto, has denied that through aides, lawyers and written statements.
Mr. Condit, 53, has called Miss Levy a good friend.
Miss Levy, a former intern at the Bureau of Prisons, was last seen in public 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 yesterday she may have spent part of the next day in her residence.
Miss Smith did not say whether Mr. Condit and Miss Levy were having an affair. She gave her interview to the network in Seattle, where her attorney, Jim Robinson, works.
Mr. Robinson confirmed the broadcast report to The Washington Times last night.
“Yes, it’s accurate,” he said, declining to comment further because he was leaving his office.
Miss Smith said she spoke out because she feared for her safety, though she would not say from whom, the network reported. A Fox reporter said Seattle police officers were stationed outside the interview location.
Miss Smith, who worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines, said she had dated Mr. Condit for about a year after meeting him on a flight.
She characterized their relationship as “very much a love affair” and “very romantic,” the network reported.
According to Miss Smith, Mr. Condit became angry when she told him the FBI had contacted her about Miss Levy’s disappearance.
“He was really upset with me,” she said.
Mr. Cotchett, who works in Burlingame, Calif., did not respond to several messages from The Times yesterday. A secretary for Mr. Condit’s attorney in the District, Abbe Lowell, referred The Times to Mr. Cotchett.
Mr. Condit’s chief of staff, Mike Lynch, also did not return several messages left yesterday at the California office.
D.C. police and the FBI yesterday continued their weeks-long efforts to interview Mr. Condit’s wife, Carolyn. Police have said Mr. Condit is not a suspect in the case, and there is no proof any crime took place.
One law enforcement official said Mrs. Condit, like her husband, has been uncooperative even in arranging the ground rules for an interview, let alone providing any information about Miss Levy or her state of mind.
D.C. police officials said they had hoped Mr. Condit could provide that information so they can create a profile of Miss Levy, then follow possible leads on her whereabouts.
D.C. police have twice interviewed Mr. Condit, and officials called the meetings productive or helpful. Privately, law enforcement sources said Mr. Condit was only as forthcoming as his press releases, which have been sparse with details.
Officials with D.C. police and the FBI yesterday said they would stop giving constant updates about the case in an effort to rein in the media storm that has erupted around one of the hundreds of missing persons cases in the nation’s capital every year. Cable news channels are fueling the story with updates nearly every hour on every new morsel of information, regardless of its significance.
The Metropolitan Police Department’s No. 2 official yesterday said Miss Levy may have been in her apartment on May 1, one day after she was last seen in public and later than authorities previously believed.
Miss Levy e-mailed her mother that day, according to news reports.
Authorities yesterday declined to say what impact that revelation has on the missing-persons investigation and the theories driving the case that Miss Levy met with foul play, ran away voluntarily or committed suicide.
But Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said on WTOP-AM Radio 1500 that officers will search area landfills with cadaver dogs, a sign that authorities may be resigning themselves to the increasing odds that Miss Levy is dead.
Officials yesterday declined to say where or when they will deploy the canines, because the swarm of interested persons could distract the dogs.
Friends and relatives have dismissed any suggestions that Miss Levy took her own life, despite reports that she was distraught that her internship suddenly ended because her supervisors learned she was no longer a student.
Miss Levy was due to return to California in early May to receive the master’s degree in public administration she earned from the University of Southern California’s center in the District.
Her parents, Dr. Robert Levy and Susan Levy, tried to contact her between May 1 and May 6, then called D.C. police when they couldn’t reach her. Detectives found no signs of a struggle in her third-floor apartment, and cash, credit cards and her driver’s license were with her packed luggage.