Representative Gary Condit
On August 23, 2001, Rep. Gary Condit was interviewed by Connie Chung on the ABC News show Prime Time Thursday. The interview centered around his relationship with intern Chandra Levy and her disappearance in May 2001. Listed below are some excerpts from the interview.
Chung: Congressman Condit, do you know what happened to Chandra Levy?
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.
These were the first six questions that Connie Chung asked Rep. Condit. Condit answered all of them in the negative with a "no" or "I did not" except for the third question. When asked if he said anything or did anything that could have caused Chandra Levy to drop out of sight, we do not find the word "no" in his answer. His answer "You know, Chandra and I never had a cross word" does not answer the specific question posed to him. He wants us to assume that because they never had a cross word, he couldn't have said anything that caused her disappearance. However, we do not assume anything. We only believe what people tell us. Rep. Condit has not told us that he did not say anything that caused Chandra Levy to drop out of sight. He also did not tell us that he did not do anything that caused her to disappear. By not answering the question, he is withholding some information.
Rep. Condit also begins his answer with the phrase "you know." This too is a sign that he wants us to take for granted that he and Chandra never had a cross word. The problem is we do not know they didn't have a cross word. He has to tell us that. By saying "you know" he is not necessarily telling us they didn't have an argument, he is implying that we should already know that.
Although the word "never" is a negative word, it does not mean "no." Therefore, you cannot subsititue the word "never" for the word "no." Chung asked him if he said anything or did anything that could have caused Chandra to drop out of sight. This question requires a "yes" or "no" answer. Condit used the word "never" to avoid answering the question.
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 perfect man, and I've made my share of mistakes. But 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 detail about Chandra Levy.
Several questions later:
Chung: Can you tell us did you have a romantic relationship with Chandra Levy?
Condit: Well, once again, I've been married for 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.
Congressman Condit does not answer these questions. Therefore, he has information he is withholding. He tells us that he has not been "a perfect man" and that he has "made mistakes." Based on these statements and his refusal to answer the question, there is a strong indication that his relationship with Chandra Levy was sexual.
Chung: Can you tell me this: Was Chandra Levy in love with you? Were you in love
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.
Connie Chung asks a compound question. Remember compound questions make it easier for the interviewee to get away with not answering one of the questions. You should ask your questions one at a time. Fortunately, Rep. Condit does answer both questions.
Ask yourself how you would answer this question. Sometimes when you compare your answer with someone else's answer, it helps you to see what the person is saying. Let's say you were friends with Chandra Levy. Someone asks you, "Was Chandra Levy in love with you?" What would your answer be if you were uncertain of Chandra's feelings towards you? There is a good chance you would say, "I don't know if she was in love with me." Rep. Condit stated, "I don't know that she was in love with me. What is the difference between using the word "if" and the word "that?"
The word "if" often means speculation or uncertainty. In the sentence, "I don't know if she was at the party" the person is uncertain if the woman was there. Maybe she was. Maybe she wasn't. The word "that" usually refers to something which is understood. "That is John." "This is larger than that." "The road that we took." All three of these sentences are referring to something specific or something that is certain. Let's go back to our party girl. Another person may say, "I don't know that she was at the party." By using the word "that" what certainty is this person referring to? More than likely someone mentioned they saw this girl at the party. This is now an established fact or certainty. Therefore, the person who didn't see the girl can respond "I don't know that." He then finishes the sentence by saying "she was at the party."
When Congressman Condit states, "I don't know that she was in love with me" what certainty is he referring to? Connie Chung never mentioned reports that Levy was in love with him. Therefore, he cannot be talking about that. Since Rep. Condit stated that Chandra Levy "never said so" he is probably referring to hints she may have made or things she may have done which would cause him to think that maybe she did love him. You can be certain there is a reason why he chose to use the word "that" instead of the word "if."
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.
Rep. Condit answers the question with a "no." However, he then states "I mean." He is now changing his answer or explaining to us what "no" means. He goes on to say "I've been married for 34 years, and I intend to stay married to that woman as long as she'll have me." If this is his new answer, then this answer does not answer the question "Did she want you to leave your wife?" That would mean he is withholding information. If he is explaining to us what "no" means, he is insinuating that because he has been married for 34 years, Chandra would not ask him to leave his wife. Remember, we do not assume anything in our analysis. We only believe what people tell us.
The word "intend" means a person may or may do something. While people have great intentions they don't always do what they intended to do.
The word "that" indicates distance. Referring to his wife as "that woman" is not as personal as referring to her as "my wife" or by her name. A better statement would have been "I have been married for 34 years, and I will remain married to my wife as long as she'll have me."
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.....
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 detail 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.
Several questions later.
Chung: Did they specifically ask you if you had a romantic relationship with
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: I told them everything they asked. Answered every question. And I did nothing to slow down the investigation.
Rep. Condit tells us that in his first interview with the police he "revealed every bit of the details about Chandra Levy." This would lead us to believe that he told the police all about his relationship with Chandra Levy. However, he then qualifies his statement by saying "I answered every question that law enforcement asked me." He tells us that he did the "same thing" in the second interview. It has been reported that Rep. Condit did not tell the police about his affair with Chandra Levy until the third interview. We can now see why this happened. Based on his answers, the police did not ask him during his first two interviews if he was having a romantic relationship with Chandra Levy.
Connie Chung then asks him "Did they specifically ask you if you had a romantic relationship with Chandra Levy?" Rep. Condit does not answer the question. Therefore, he is withholding information. He does the same thing when she asked, "Did you tell them that you did have a romantic relationship with her?"
Later in the interview, Connie Chung asked Rep. Condit about the allegations that he has not cooperated fully with the police. While he explains that he has been cooperating he is interrupted by Chung.
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: Did you at any time ask the staff to lie?
Condit: I flew my wife to Washington.
Chung: Did you at any time ever ask you staff to lie?
Condit: Well let me, let me finish this. 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, D.C. 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: 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.
Connie Chung asked Rep. Condit twice if he asked his staff to lie? Unfortunately she asked these questions while the congressman was answering another question. Therefore, he was able to get away with not answering the question about whether he asked his staff to lie. No where else in the interview does she repeat the question or does he answer this question.
When she confronts him that he did not "reveal the true nature of your relationship with Chandra Levy until the third interview," Rep. Condit tells us "that, that's just not correct." He stumbles in his language which weakens his denial. We would expect him to say that he did tell them during the first or second interview. However, he replies "In every interview, I answered every question, gave every detail." Again he is telling us that the police did not ask him if he was having a romantic relationship with Chandra Levy during the first two interviews.
Chung: She had called you repeatedly on that date. Correct?
Condit: Well no, that's not true ...
Chung: Her phone records show that.
Condit: Well, that ... I mean, she might have left a message. But you know, the news media reported that she made all these frantic calls. And that's just not correct.
Chung: But her phone records show that she called you repeatedly.
Condit: Her phone ... she didn't make frantic phone calls to people. She may have placed a call to me. She had my voice machine, my voice phone company, voice answering machine. She may have called and left a message. But it doesn't indicate that I have a whole series of messages from her.
Earlier in the interview Rep. Condit admitted that on April 29, 2001 he had a one minute telephone conversation with Chandra Levy. Here he denies that she repeatedly called him on that date. Chung confronts him with Levy's telephone records which apparently show that she did call him several times on April 29th. Condit deflects this by saying that Levy did not make any frantic telephone calls to him. Chung again tells him that Levy's records show she made several calls to the congressman on that date. Again Condit qualifies his statement by saying she "didn't make frantic phone calls to people." We can see that he is uncomfortable with this line of questioning and is searching for what to say. It takes him three attempts to tell us that she may have left a message on his voice mail; "She had my voice machine, my voice phone company, voice answering machine."
It would appear that on April 29, 2001, Chandra Levy made several telephone calls to Rep. Condit's number. She may have left one or two messages on his answering machine. The majority of the calls she probably chose to hang up and not leave a message.
Chung: And how often do you think she came to your ... your apartment to
Condit: Well, I provided all those details to the appropriate people, law enforcement people. They have that and uh, it would be uh ... best not to get ...
Chung: Forgive me, but ... why are you reluctant to answer that question?
Condit: Because that's, that's provided to law enforcement and the people who are responsible for, for finding Chandra Levy.
Chung: But I mean, if there was nothing wrong with it, why can't you say how many times she came to visit you?
Condit: Because if I say a time to you, I may be ... well, I don't know the amount of time off the top of my head, but ...
Chung: Could you give me a general idea?
Condit: But I, but we, but we have shared all that with law enforcement. And I think it's best that we not go into that. And out of respect for my family, and out of respect for the Levy family, I just don't ... can't go there.
Quite obviously Rep. Condit does not want to tell us how many times Chandra Levy came to his apartment. At one point he says, "Because if I say a time to you, I may be ... well, I don't know the amount of time off the top of my head." It is possible he was about to say "Because if I say a time to you, I may be giving you a different time than what I told the police." After Connie Chung asked him for the fourth time about Chandra Levy coming to his apartment, we see a change in pronouns. "But I, but we, but we have shared all that with law enforcement." Condit wants to shift the attention from himself (I) to others (we).
A flight attendant named Ann Marie Smith publicly stated she had a year long relationship with Rep. Condit. Condit denies that he had a relationship with her. Chung continues to question him about Smith.
Chung: You're saying that she completely fabricated this?
Condit: She's taken advantage of this tragedy. She didn't know Chandra Levy. So she gets to have her moment of publicity, of financial gain. And I'm puzzled by that.
Rep. Condit does not answer the question. He does not tell us that Ann Marie Smith fabricated the story. Therefore, we cannot believe that her story is a fabrication. All he says is that "she's taken advantage of this tragedy." That could be true. "She didn't know Chandra Levy." That too could be true. "So she gets to have her moment of publicity, of financial gain." That also could be true, but he has not told us that she is lying about her relationship with him.
Chung: Do you think you're a moral man?
Condit: I think I am a moral man. Yes.
When a person says he "thinks" he is telling us there is an uncertainty in his answer. There is a chance that what he thinks is not true. However, in his answer Rep. Condit is only repeating what was asked of him, "Do you think you're a moral man?" A better question would have been "Are you a moral man?"
We can see that Rep. Condit is being evasive about his relationship with Chandra Levy. He refuses to tell us if it was romantic or how many times she called or visited his apartment. He mentions that he did not have a cross word with Chandra Levy. However, he stops short of telling us that he did not say or do anything that would cause her to drop out of sight.
October 2, 2008
The California Conversations published on their website an interview they did with Gary Condit. The article was written by Terence McHale and published in the Winter of 2008. You can find the interview here. California Conversations discusses with Condit his political career. Eventually they questioned him about Chandra Levy. During this line of questioning we find the following exchange.
CC: The press is pushing the question about an affair with Chandra Levy?
Condit: I did not have a romantic relationship with Chandra Levy.
CC: Are you drawing a distinction between a romantic relationship and a sexual relationship?
Condit: It's none of your business. I mean, if I were to start answering it, well then, how many times did you have sex? All these other women that have been mentioned, did you have sex with them? It just goes on and on. My private life is my private life. If we don't reclaim that, we're all going to be designated as public people and we will have no more civil liberties. I stood my ground. I guess people will determine whether that's correct or not.
And now we know. Maybe they did not have a romantic relationship but it appears they did have a sexual relationship.
November 22, 2010
Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, was convicted of first-degree murder for attacking Chandra Levy while she exercised in Washington's Rock Creek Park. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February 2011.
February 11, 2011
Ingmar Guandique was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the murder of Chandra Levy.
Guandique was granted a new trial when it was discovered that a key witness at his trial, a jailhouse informant, may have lied under oath.
Prosecutors announced they would not retry Guandique because they did not believe they could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he killed Chandra Levy. Their focus now is to deport Guandique. Gary Condit has been cleared of any involvement in Chandra's death.