Desperately Leaking Condit uncovers Chandra Levy rumors galore.

Aquarian Weekly 7/18/01 REALITY CHECK


Last week this space sent to press a comment by it’s leading Washington snitch, Georgetown that sent my telephone jingling for three days. The piece had yet to see the light of day, but the man who has spent years trying to disassociate himself from this column suddenly found a moment of misguided pride and set about blabbing the prediction that California congressman, Gary Condit should resign in shame following what has turned into a very sordid and damning investigation involving missing interns, adulterous affairs and lying to the FBI.

Ironically, Georgetown found that he wasn’t the only one who had dirt on Condit and willing to pass it along during a bevy of happy hours. Seems like the last few weeks have been a haven for leaking associates and unnamed payroll sources for the National Enquirer. The Beltway is alive with scoop on Condit’s “bizarre sexual appetites” and “backroom pay-off dealings”.

But charges of kidnapping and sexual indiscretions are not news in the white-collar jungle, and anyone with half the gravy on a congressman’s extracurricular activities likely has some of the stink on him, so it is common knowledge that when the leaks start to reach legitimate reporters it’s something like a bulging septic.

Levy isn’t the first, nor is she the only one to be in the wrong place and the wrong time in the nation’s capitol. But if Levy is dead or missing for another week or so, which has all the presumptions of death without a body, Condit’s behavior in this is going to bring him down hard.

However, no one who has worked for the Reality Check New & Information desk could seriously consider themselves anything close to legitimate press, and even when accepted as such in places like Yankee Stadium or Gracie Mansion the instructions have been to deny with extreme prejudice and cause the type of credential-revoking stir that might make news gathering a cause worth achieving.

So when I joined the mainstream journalists and ignored innuendo on where this case was going long before Memorial Day, I dropped the ball and ignored the credo I’d so vehemently defended. Georgetown wasn’t the first and has not been the last mole to mumble nasty stories about Condit to me, and if it weren’t for the Washington Post hammering away at this thing, the Levy case probably wouldn’t have cracked national front pages or the MSNBC agenda line-up.

Meanwhile the congressman’s intern and former lover has been missing for nearly three months and a 39 year-old flight attendant by the name of Anne Marie Smith has been telling anyone with a tape recorder and a byline that Condit knows exactly where Chandra Levy is and had an iron-clad affidavit detailing an adulterous headboard banging romp with the 53 year-old congressman to back the allegations up. Portions of which include Smith’s adamant claim that Condit tried to force her sign legal documents that she didn’t even know him.

Condit’s only defense for the duration of this growing embarrassment was to chuckle and deny having so much has shaken Levy’s hand, looking concerned for his intern and her family and sending his neurotic speed-freak San Francisco attorney, Joe Cotchett on the Sunday talk show circuit to swear on a stack of courtroom Gideons that the congressman had been more than cooperative with police. Cotchett laughed heartily at any charges of obstruction of justice and accused every media outlet of libel, slander and kooties.

But two days later the DC police issued a warrant to search Condit’s apartment and whispers of a lie-detector test and DNA samples soon followed. At the time this piece goes to press a full-fledged drama of an 18 year-old minister’s daughter sodomy rap will be making the Geraldo grade.

Curiously, the cops still won’t publicly admit Condit is a suspect in the Levy disappearance, yet they subpoenaed his phone records and interview everyone from his car mechanic to the Capitol Hill laundry clerk. Only then did the congressman admit to the Levy affair, and only through written statements and spokespeople.

Seems people in the know who were behind the scenes defending Condit, and other unnamed spin doctors familiar with the situation, felt that it was in the congressman’s best interest not to open “the closet full of bones” by even admitting to any kind of affair with Levy. This speaks of a history of tawdry misdemeanors and a stain on the man’s marriage, but what could have possessed legal people to advise Condit to fib about a sexual affair in a possible murder/kidnapping case?

The best answer weeded out through the most putrid forms of investigative reporting, including blackmail, laundered money and death threats, is that Condit either put the screws to Levy, sending her running for cover, which is likely if anyone is moved to believe that Condit pulled a similar tactic with the stewardess, or knocked her up and tried to force her to abort it. This might have caused a young woman familiar with Washington’s political power money to head for the underground.

Levy isn’t the first, nor is she the only, one to be in the wrong place and the wrong time in the nation’s capitol. But if Levy is dead or missing for another week or so, which has all the presumptions of death without a body, Condit’s behavior in this is going to bring him down hard.

Unless, of course, he, or someone else on the payroll knows where she is and how she got there. This is the part of the story people have only speculated at. No one has dared to go on record to implicate some kind of witness protection program for tattlers with a couple of hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer shut-up money. These are the same voices that are oddly silent when my questions center on why, if Levy isn’t dead, she hasn’t tried to ease her poor family’s grief by showing up somewhere. And how come it is easier to spot Elvis at a truck stop in Butte, Montana than it is to spot this chick.

It’s been an interesting week around here. And since our budget is consistently low and our interest in California politics even lower, most of the calls that have come in were all but ignored. But I can still hear Georgetown saying more than once in our latest interview that Condit had better resign soon. And the last time he was that sure about anything was Pat Buchanan’s exodus from the GOP and he was right on before anyone I’d read or heard on that one.

But Condit is not a Republican, and DC is a Republican town right now. Lips are tighter than ever about intern diddling since the Clinton scandal. Most of the theories on this are at the least a government intrigue worthy of Watergate and at the worst grossly irresponsible. And, as usual, somewhere in the middle lies the lonely truth.

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