LOS ANGELES -- Former congressman Gary Condit denied any romantic relationship with slain Washington intern Chandra Levy on the “Dr. Phil” show Thursday.
Levy, a 24-year-old intern with the federal Bureau of Prisons, vanished in 2001. Her body was found the following year in Washington’s sprawling Rock Creek Park in a case that became a national obsession after she was linked to Condit. At the time, investigators claimed that Condit, who was married, admitted to police that he had an affair with Levy, reports CBS affiliate WUSA9.
Condit, a former Democratic congressman from California, was cleared as a suspect by police. Another man, Ingmar Guandique, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, was convicted in Levy’s death in 2010.and prosecutors announced they wouldn’t retry him.
Condit appeared Thursday on the “Dr. Phil” talk show to promote his new book, “Actual Malice.” The book tells the story of the Levy investigation in a true-crime format.
Speaking on Dr. Phil, Condit said he was friends with Levy. He said he first met Levy, who was from his congressional district, when she came to his office. He also said she visited his condo.
“I saw her one time outside the office at a restaurant, and she came by my condo once,” Condit told Dr. Phil. “Maybe twice. I think it was twice she came by. Once again, I want to make this clear. There’s nothing unusual about someone coming by my condo. A lot of people did. People have made some speculation about that being something special, but you know...”
Condit later admitted to Dr. Phil he remembers two visits, but there may have been more.
Dr. Phil said on the show that Condit suffered “one of the most egregious character assassinations I’ve ever seen.” Condit said he felt police bungled the investigation and wrongly focused on him, leaving him “dumbfounded.”
“They made a big leap because we were friends, because she’d come by the condo, that I must have something to do with this,” Condit said.
He said instead of an investigation, the case turned into a “soap opera.” Condit, 68, said he was also judged harshly in the public eye.
“There were people who would walk up to me and say, ‘Where’d you hide the body?’” Condit said. “Or they would yell across the room, ‘Murderer!’”
Condit’s attorney says prosecutors have said Condit is neither a subject nor a target of the Levy investigation. He has denied any involvement in her disappearance.
Condit said he believes Guandique committed the crime and said he believes its an “injustice” to the Levy family that he’s free. He said he wanted the Levy family to know he’s been cooperative and “done everything I could to be helpful.”
In a statement released to “Inside Edition,” Levy’s mother, Susan, said her daughter was secretive about her relationship with the congressman.
“Chandra shared that her ‘man,’ as she called him, was high profile and it was best to not be seen together,” the statement said.
Dr. Phil said Condit asked him to invite the Levy family to join the television interview, but they declined.
“I’m not the victim in this – the real victim is Chandra and her family,” Condit said.