What was the accusation?
Representative Condit gained national attention in May of 2001 following the disappearance of 23-year-old Washington, D.C. intern Chandra Levy, with whom Condit was thought to have had an affair. Condit was not forthcoming about his relationship with Levy, which led investigators and members of the press to believe that he was somehow involved in her disappearance. The negative attention essentially ended Condit’s political career, although he was vindicated in 2009 when an El Salvadorian illegal immigrant, Ingmar Guandique was arrested and charged for Levy’s murder.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Denial, Bolstering, Mortification
Video of Interview with Connie Chung
Transcript of Interview with Connie Chung
CONNIE CHUNG Congressman Condit, do you know what happened to Chandra Levy?
REP. GARY CONDIT No, I do not.
CHUNG Did you have anything to do with her disappearance?
CONDIT No, I didn’t.
CHUNG Did you say anything or do anything that could have caused her to drop out of sight?
CONDIT You know, Chandra and I never had a cross word.
CHUNG Do you have any idea if there was anyone who wanted to harm her?
CHUNG Did you cause anyone to harm her?
CHUNG Did you kill Chandra Levy?
CONDIT I did not.
CHUNG Can you describe your relationship? What exactly was your relationship with Chandra Levy?
CONDIT Well, I met Chandra … last, um, October. And we became very close. I met her in Washington, DC.
CHUNG Very close, meaning …?
CONDIT We had a close relationship. I liked her very much.
CHUNG May I ask you, was it a sexual relationship?
CONDIT Well, Connie, I’ve been married for 34 years, and I’ve not been a … a perfect man, and I’ve made my share of mistakes. But um, out of respect for my family, and out of a specific request from the Levy family, I think it’s best that I not get into those details uh, about Chandra Levy.
CHUNG Congressman Condit, do you recall when … it was during President Clinton’s impeachment hearings, you called for, and I quote, “The public airing of every detail of his affair,” saying, quote, “only when we strip away the cloak of secrecy and lay the facts on the table, can we begin to resolve this matter.” Shouldn’t those rules apply to yourself?
CONDIT Well, I’ve watched that clip, and I’ve heard that quote. My view of that is it’s taken out of context. The fact of the matter is … is that the Starr report was there. And the Republicans were drip, drip, drip, releasing that report, and it was embarrassing …
CHUNG (Overlap) But we want to talk about you and not President Clinton.
CONDIT (Overlap) Well, let me finish. Yeah, let me finish … because it relates to President Clinton. And I asked that the Starr report, along with other people, be released in its total, so that we could get to the impeachment hearing. And the real issue here, that the media seems to have forgotten in this report many times, is that I voted four times not to impeach President Clinton. That’s the real issue.
CHUNG (Overlap) We’re not talking about that right now. What we’re talking about is whether or not you will come forward to uh, lift this veil of suspicion that seems to have clouded you. Can you tell us … did you have a romantic relationship with Chandra Levy?
CONDIT Well, once again, I’ve been married 34 years. I have not been a perfect man. I have made mistakes in my life. But out of respect for my family, out of a specific request by the Levy family, it is best that I not get into the details of the relationship.
CHUNG Can you tell me this: was Chandra Levy in love with you? Were you in love with her?
CONDIT Well, I don’t know that she was in love with me. She never said so. And I was not in love with her.
CHUNG Did she want to marry you and have your child?
CONDIT I only knew Chandra Levy for five months. And in that five months’ period, we never had a discussion about a future, about children, about marriage. Any of those items never came up in that five-month period.
CHUNG Did you ever make promises to her?
CHUNG Did she want you to leave your wife?
CONDIT No. I mean, I’ve been married for 34 years, and I intend to stay married to that woman as long as she’ll have me.
CHUNG Um, I understand what you’re saying regarding being specific about the relationship. However, don’t you realize that part of the reason why you’re in the situation that you’re in is because that there have been ambiguous or uh, evasive answers to specific questions?
CONDIT Well, there has been no evasive, uh, answers to specific questions by me. I have, I have …
CHUNG (Overlap) Right now there is, sir.
CONDIT Well, no, there have not been. I have talked to the people who are responsible for finding Chandra Levy. I’ve been very specific. I’ve told them every detail in every interview about my relationship with Chandra Levy, and any of the questions that they had … have had to ask.
CHUNG Indeed, uh, when the police questioned you on the first two occasions, you did not reveal the specifics of your relationship with Chandra Levy. Isn’t that correct? It wasn’t until the third interview with police that you revealed your relationship in its true manner.
CONDIT In the first interview, I revealed every bit of the details about Chandra Levy. I answered every question that law enforcement asked me. In the second interview, I did the same thing. I answered every question that was asked of me, and released every detail to law enforcement. Now let me just say to you, Connie …
CHUNG (Overlap) Truthfully?
CONDIT … if I may …
CHUNG Truthfully. Did you answer every question truthfully?
CONDIT I answered every question truthfully. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re cooperating with the police.
CHUNG But did you reveal that you were having an affair with her?
CONDIT I’m not going to go into the aspects and the details of, of … the details of the, of the investigation or the interviews. I’m just saying to you that I answered every question asked of me by the police department on every occasion.
CHUNG But the police department has said that you impeded the investigation.
CONDIT That’s pretty confusing. I mean, it’s real confusing, because a couple days after it was reported that Chandra Levy had been missing, after her father had called me here in California, two days later I had two detectives in my house in Washington, DC, and we have a 45-minute interview. So I answered every question, gave them every bit of the details in that interview. And you know how Washington, DC works. It has dual jurisdiction. Well, the next interview, there was a new set of personnel in that interview. In the third interview, there was the Department of Justice, the … the federal prosecutor. I had to go through that interview. And then in the fourth interview…
CHUNG (Overlap) But … but (Inaudible)…
CONDIT … there was the FBI. Now they all asked the same questions over and over again. Maybe …
CHUNG (Overlap) Did they specifically ask you if you had a romantic relationship with Chandra Levy?
CONDIT They asked every, every question they wanted to ask, and every detail question they asked. And I answered.
CHUNG And you, did you tell them that you did have a romantic relationship with her?
CONDIT Uh, I told them everything they asked. Answered every question. And I did nothing to slow down the investigation.
CHUNG Now when Mrs. Levy called you and said that her daughter was missing, and she asked you pointblank, she says, at a critical time in the investigation, as to whether or not you had an affair with her daughter, you answered, according to her, matter-of-factly, “No.” Were you telling the truth?
CONDIT I never lied to Mrs. Levy. Fact of the matter is that whole week I had several conversations with the Levys. Dr. Levy and Mrs. Levy. We talked about uh, several items in, in the case.
CHUNG So when you said, “No,” you were telling the truth?
CONDIT What, what Miss, what Mrs. Levy asked me was a series of questions about a lot of things. And I’m sorry if she misunderstood uh, those conversations. But in those conversations, she made a lot of statements. My job was to console and do what I could do to be helpful. But I never lied to Mrs. Levy at all. I’m sorry if she misunderstood the conversations. She made several statements about a variety of different people. My role was to listen, to be helpful. I knew they were going through pain and anguish. And I was doing everything that I could do to be helpful to them, and not be a problem.
CHUNG Congressman Condit , uh … I do not know exactly whether you did have an affair with Chandra Levy or not, because you will not answer that question. Now, when Mrs. Levy asked you if you had had an affair, she says you said no. And you are now saying that you didn’t lie to her.
CONDIT I’m saying that, yes.
CHUNG So are you saying that she misunderstood you …
CONDIT (Overlap) Yes.
CHUNG … when you said no?
CONDIT She … well, I’m not sure what com- …
CHUNG (Overlap) You should have said yes?
CONDIT I’m not sure what conversation she was talking about. She made several references to several people. My job was to simply to be helpful to her, to try to get through whatever she was getting through. I never lied to Mrs. Levy.
CHUNG Well, I mean, here is a mother who is asking you a critical question about her daughter who is missing. You needed to provide her with the truth and the correct answer.
CONDIT Correct, and I,
CHUNG (Overlap) You didn’t do that.
CONDIT (Overlap) I told her the truth.
CHUNG You told her that you were indeed …
CONDIT She did not ask me that question. She made several references about people. And I’m not going to get into the names of the people, but I told Mrs. Levy the truth. I’m sorry and I regret if she misunderstood what I had to say.
CHUNG Uh … tell me something. When Chandra Levy … Chandra Levy would come to your apartment, correct?
CONDIT She’d been there, yes.
CHUNG And when she came to your apartment, did you set rules for her to follow? Such as uh, never to bring her identification with her.
CONDIT I never, ever told anybody not to carry their identification.
CHUNG And it’s a critical question, because in fact when she disappeared, she left her identification at home, in her apartment, and only took her keys, apparently.
CONDIT (Overlap) Right.
CHUNG So you’re saying there were virtually no rules. There were no rules at all …
CONDIT (Overlap) No rules … I …
CHUNG … when she came to visit you.
CONDIT No rules. I would never, ever … not asked (sic) someone to carry their identification. I don’t know what’s the purpose of that.
CHUNG Now her … she, she confided in her aunt. And her aunt said that these were the rules. That there were certain rules that she had to abide by. And that indeed, she did have an affair with you. Is … are, are you suggesting that either the aunt is terribly mistaken, or that Chandra Levy was fabricating all of this?
CONDIT Well, I can only say that I did not have those conversations with Chandra. And Chandra’s not here to defend herself. So I don’t know why the aunt would say that.
CHUNG But … regarding the relationship in and of itself, are you suggesting that Chandra Levy’s aunt did not have the correct information, or that Chandra Levy herself had created this affair as a figment of her imagination?
CONDIT I can only say I never had those conversations with Chandra.
CHUNG (Overlap) Which conversations?
CONDIT The conversations that you’re suggesting that … there was going to be a future, we were going to get married, and that there were some kind of rules. I never had those conversations. So I, I don’t know where the aunt got that.
CHUNG But going back to whether or not you had an affair and the fact that you’re not willing to answer that question … Chandra Levy’s aunt says that indeed, Chandra told her that you had an affair. So I’m asking you, do you, are you trying to … uh, suggest that Chandra Levy did not have an affair with you and that it was a fabric (sic) of her imagination?
CONDIT I don’t know why she told the aunt what she told the aunt. She told the aunt apparently a lot of things. But the fact of the matter is, and I’m going to go back to this … I’ve been married 34 years, I’ve made some mistakes in my life, I’m not a perfect man. But out of respect for my family, and out of a request, a specific request from the Levys, I will not go into the details of Chandra Levy at all.
CHUNG (Overlap) What did they exactly ask you to do?
CONDIT Well, they asked a couple nights ago on uh, one of the TV shows that uh, that they did not want to hear about the details of the relationship.
CHUNG I’m not asking you details. I’m simply asking you if it was more than just a friendship?
CONDIT Well, let me say, the details included they didn’t know, didn’t want to know what, how I felt about her, or how she felt about me. So I’m trying to honor that. I’m try- …
CHUNG (Overlap) Forgive me, I …
CONDIT (Overlap) … and I think the … I think the American people understand that people are entitled to some privacy. I’m entitled to try to retain as much privacy as I can. The Levys are entitled to retain as much privacy on behalf of their daughter as they can. I’m going to honor that.
CHUNG But, but you are protecting your privacy, your family’s privacy at the expense of a, of a woman who is missing.
CONDIT Well, that’s not correct. That’s not correct at all. Because I have cooperated with law enforcement. The people who are responsible for finding Chandra. No, I haven’t held a news conference, and no, I don’t do talk shows. But I have cooperated …
CHUNG (Overlap) Forgive me, but we have gone over this area already.
CONDIT (Overlap) Well, I have cooperated …
CHUNG The police even said that you impeded the investigation. They do not believe that you have fully cooperated. In fact, the word from the police is that your lack of candor impeded the investigation.
CONDIT Well, I’m, I’m confused if you’re making reference to Chief Ramsey’s latest comments. Let me tell you, Connie, I have interviewed four times. I interviewed with the Metropolitan police department. I’ve interviewed a second time with the Metropolitan police department and the commander. I interviewed with the Department of Justice, the federal prosecutor, also with the MPD. I interviewed with the FBI. I allowed them to search my home, where they ripped up my carpet, they took the paint off the walls, they put the drains down the, the pipes.
CHUNG (Overlap) I understand.
CONDIT Now let me finish. I have, I … because this is a very important point. I have done everything, to the point where I’ve let them interview my staff, they’ve searched the cars …
CHUNG (Overlap) Did you at any time ask the staff to lie?
CONDIT … I flew my wife … I flew my wife to Washington.
CHUNG (Overlap) Did you at any time every ask your staff to lie?
CONDIT (Overlap) Well let me, let me finish this. Let me finish this. Because you’re making the accusation, I think it’s a very important one. That I have not been cooperative. And I’m puzzled by why the Police Chief would say that. I don’t think there’s anyone in Washington, DC who’s been more cooperative in this investigation than myself. And I’m confused by why the Police Chief would say that. Several weeks before that, the Chief and …
CHUNG (Overlap) Because you didn’t reveal the true nature of your relationship with Chandra Levy until the third interview.
CONDIT Well, that, that’s just not correct. In every interview, I answered every question, gave every detail.
CHUNG So you’re suggesting that the police didn’t quite ask you the right questions (Inaudible)?
CONDIT (Overlap) No, I’m not suggesting that at all. I’m, I’m suggesting that, that you’re, you’re going on unnamed sources of the third interview of people who were not even in the room.
CHUNG But you can clear the air …
CONDIT (Overlap) And a lot … well, I’m clearing the air.
CHUNG You can clear the air now by, by revealing exactly what kind of relationship you had. Because it, isn’t it obvious to you that it, when you’re dealing with a missing persons case, that any relationship with the missing person is important for police, authorities to know?
CONDIT Well, but you and I work under two different assumptions here, I think. I think it’s my job to work for the people who … have the responsibility to find Chandra. Not to go out and do news conferences and do talk shows to talk about that.
CHUNG But are you … aren’t you …
CONDIT (Overlap) I worked with the law enforcement people in every step, provided them information in every interview, and gave up a lot of my civil liberties to make sure that they had all the information that they needed.
CHUNG But aren’t you here to set the record straight?
CONDIT I think I am setting the record straight.
CHUNG Would you like to … tell the truth about the relationship with her?
CONDIT I’ve told you and responded to uh, the relationship question. And I think the American people, and people watching out there understand. I think they understand that … that I’m entitled to some of my privacy. My family’s entitled to some of their privacy. And certainly the Levy’s (sic) are, as well.
(Part of interview missing here)
CONDIT Well, first of all, I did not throw it in a dumpster. I threw it in a trash can on a street, understanding that the tabloids are going through every bit of my trash at my office, going through things in my office, trying to get things out of my office. It was trash. I threw it away
CHUNG But… I mean, if, if there was nothing to it … so what if, if uh, the tabloids would find it? If there was nothing … who gave it to you?
CONDIT Well, there was nothing to it.
CHUNG Who gave it to you?
CONDIT (Overlap) It was a gift.
CONDIT It was a gift.
CHUNG A woman in the office who worked in your office?
CONDIT Years ago.
CHUNG And did you have a relationship with her?
CONDIT I did not.
CHUNG Um, tell me, have you made any attempts to silence anyone about any relationship you’ve had with a woman?
CONDIT I have not asked anyone to… be silent about anything. Matter of fact, I’ve …anyone who says that we tried to keep people from cooperating is just lying.
CHUNG Um, why won’t you take a polygraph test administered by the police? And why won’t you cooperate with Chandra Levy’s parents (sic) investigators?
CONDIT Well, let me say that, that uh … you know, this is sort of new to me. But when the polygraph issue came up …
CHUNG What is sort of new to you?
CONDIT This polygraph issue, in that uh … I’m not familiar with the polygraph people. But we went out to find the best.
CHUNG I understand.
CONDIT (Overlap) The best in the country.
CHUNG (Overlap) But why won’t you take one … from the police?
CONDIT (Overlap) We found the best in the country that… he trains the FBI agents who give the polygraph tests. And so we took the test. We passed the test. And his credibility is unchallenged by people in the industry. And I’m, I’m confused by the police chief’s comment immediately after we take the polygraph test. He did not read the polygraph test. Uh, I think you’ll find that people in the FBI now have seen the polygraph test, they can read the polygraph test, and it makes total sense to them. So we basically thought we were being helpful, just found the best guy we could find. And that’s what we did. And I don’t know if …
CHUNG (Overlap) Why, why won’t you cooperate with uh, the Levy family investigators? And why won’t you take … if you, if you are guilty of no criminal wrongdoing, if you’re not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, why don’t you take a polygraph test given by the police, and cooperate with Chandra Levy’s…
CONDIT (Overlap) But we’ve taken a polygraph test. And it, and it proves that I’m innocent. And it’s by, it’s by a … a guy who’s one of the highest-regarded gentlemen in that field in the country.
CHUNG (Overlap) I understand. All right.
CONDIT And let me … on the investigate-, the investigators with the Levys, um, we have offered information that we have on all the issues to the investigators. We have sent letters to them. They have not responded. Now I’m a little bit concerned about the sincerity of their requests, the investigators’ requests, if they’re not willing to take some of the information that we have, go through it and see what it is they need. Once they go through it, if there’s something that we can be helpful with, we … we’re open to do that. But they need to be uh … they, they need to at least show that they’re really interested in … finding out what we’ve already done, what’s been said, what the investigation that we’ve been through says. And once they do that … I, we, we’re open to …. talk to them.
CHUNG All right.
CONDIT But, but we just don’t want it to be a TV show, or, or sort of … sort of publicity stunt.
CHUNG We have just a few minutes left. Uh, what has all of this done to you and your family?
CONDIT Well it’s been tough. I mean, it’s been tough on my family. Uh, we, we’ve gone through tough times. I mean, as I mentioned, uh … they dragged my wife across the country for an interview, because they refused to do it here, and they were going to subpoena her. They tried to uh, go through her medical records, uh, they reported she didn’t have thumbs, and they chased my children around. The tabloids have. But the fact of the matter is, is this is not about the Condits. This is about the Levys. And that’s minor … minor pain, and that’s minor … uh, interference with our life, compared to what … Dr. and Mrs. Levy are going through. Sympathy and our hearts go to Dr. and Mrs. Levy. Not the stuff that we’ve gone through.
CHUNG Uh .. do you … I, I … at the end of this interview, we’re, we’re … we only have a few minutes left. Uh … do you fear that uh, the public out there um, may be very disappointed that you didn’t come forward and reveal details today, as we sit here tonight?
CONDIT Well, I think I have revealed details. The details that I’ve been fully cooperative uh, with law enforcement. I’ve answered every question on every accession. I’ve given up my civil liberties…
CHUNG (Overlap) You don’t think you’re stonewalling?
CONDIT No, I don’t think I’m stonewalling at all. I think that people expect that you can maintain some of your privacy. I think the Levys expect to maintain some of their daughter’s privacy. And I’m trying to honor that. I’m trying to do that with dignity. I, I’m trying to retain some privacy for my family and for their family. And I think your jurors out there will understand that.
CHUNG I’m, I, I would think that many people would want you to maintain your privacy. However, you have constituents out there, something like 600- … 680,000. Do they deserve the truth?
CONDIT They deserve the truth. And the truth is that I have done everything asked of me by the people who are responsible to find Chandra Levy. I have done everything. I’ve given you the list. I mean, I have not been part of the media circus if, if that’s your point. But it’s not the news media’s responsibility to find Chandra Levy. It’s law enforcement. And I made a decision that I would work with law enforcement to do just that.
CHUNG What do you think happened to Chandra Levy?
CONDIT I don’t know.
CHUNG You have virtually no idea?
CONDIT No idea.
CHUNG Can you survive, can your career, your marriage, survive this?
CONDIT Well, my, my family’s intact. It’s going to take more than the news media … with, with innuendos, half-truths, unnamed sources, to, to split my family up.
CHUNG But … isn’t much of what has happened partly your doing?
CONDIT In what respect, Connie?
CHUNG You said to …. yourself, to your constituents, in a letter, that you’ve made mistakes, and you said that to me earlier.
CHUNG What mistakes are you talking about?
CONDIT Well, I haven’t been a perfect man. And I think people, your viewers will understand that. I have not been a perfect man. I’ve made mistakes in my life. I acknowledge that.
CHUNG But what mistakes are you talking about? Are you talking about moral mistakes?
CONDIT Well, there’s a variety of mistakes. I mean, I, I’ve made …. uh, all kinds of mistakes in my life, but I’m not going to go into details on this program about the mistakes that I’ve made in my life.
CHUNG Do you, do you …
CONDIT (Overlap) I acknowledge them. And I’m sorry for them.
CHUNG Do you think you’re a moral man?
CONDIT I think I am a moral man. Yes.
CHUNG OK. Um, I think we are out of time, Gary. Thank you so much, Congressman.
CONDIT Thank you.
CHUNG Thank you, I appreciate it.
CONDIT Thank you.
Adams, R. (2010, November 22). Chandra Levy murder case finally closed after nine years. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/richard-adams-blog/2010/nov/22/chandra-levy-murder-ingmar-guandique
Steyn, M. (2001, July 15). The congressman, the missing intern, his wife and his lovers. The Telegraph (UK). Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1334079/The-congressman-the-missing-intern-his-wife-and-his-lovers.html
What’s the latest on the missing intern? (2001, June 19). Slate. Retrieved from: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2001/06/whats_the_latest_on_the_missing_intern.html