Gary Condit

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Gary Condit
GaryCondit.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 18th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Richard H. Lehman
Succeeded by Dennis Cardoza
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 15th district
In office
September 12, 1989 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Tony Coelho
Succeeded by Norman Y. Mineta
Personal details
Born Gary Adrian Condit
(1948-04-21) April 21, 1948 (age 66)
Salina, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Carolyn Berry
Alma mater Modesto Junior College (A.A) University of Southern California (B.B.A)
Profession Businessman

Gary Adrian Condit (born April 21, 1948) is a former politician and member of the Democratic Party who served in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 2003. Condit originally represented 15th District, and then later California's 18th congressional district after redistricting following the 1990 census.

Condit gained significant national attention for an extramarital affair with intern Chandra Levy, which was exposed after Levy's disappearance in May 2001. Condit was not candid and forthcoming with investigators about his relationship with Levy, bringing him considerable negative attention and speculation that he was somehow involved in her murder. The following year, he lost in the 2002 Democratic primary.

Condit holds a B.B.A from the USC Marshall School of Business.

California State Assembly[edit]

In 1988, Democratic Assemblyman Condit was a member of the "Gang of Five" with Charles M. Calderon of Whittier, Gerald R. Eaves of Rialto, Rusty Areias of Los Banos, and Steve Peace of Chula Vista, California.[1] The group tried and failed to unseat Willie Brown, who was serving as Speaker of the Assembly of the California State Assembly at the time, by making a deal with assembly Republicans. Steve Peace co-wrote and produced the 1988 film Return of the Killer Tomatoes; Condit appeared as unbilled, unspeaking pizzeria patron during a fight sequence wearing a trucker cap who smashes a bottle on the head of a cowboy.[2]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Tenure[edit]

Condit was elected to Congress in 1989 in a special election, after House Democratic Whip Tony Coelho resigned. His most important committee assignment was as a senior member on the House Intelligence Committee in the months and years prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

Condit voted against President Bill Clinton more frequently than all Congressional Democrats.[3] In 1998, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Condit publicly demanded that Clinton "come clean" on his relationship with the young woman; a video of this demand was aired almost daily during Condit's own sex scandal.[4]

Levy scandal[edit]

Reporters with Condit, August 17, 2001

In 2001, Condit became the subject of international news coverage after the disappearance of Chandra Levy, a young woman working as a Washington, D.C. intern, originally from Condit's district. Police questioned Condit twice, and both times he denied having an affair with her; however, Levy's aunt eventually went public with conversations she had with her about their relationship. Police questioned Condit a third time, and he confessed to the relationship.[5][6] When the affair began, Condit was 53 and Levy was 23.

While Condit was not named as an official suspect in the disappearance, Levy's family suspected that Condit was withholding important information about her disappearance. Public interest was high, and Condit's reputation suffered from the contrast between his "pro-family" politics, adultery with a woman two years younger than his daughter, and his attempts to mislead the police regarding the nature of his relationship with her. In July, two months after Levy vanished, Condit agreed to let investigators search his apartment, and hours before the search police said he was spotted throwing out a gift box he had received from another woman in a dumpster in one of Washington's Virginia suburbs.[5] This followed news reports that Condit had an affair with a flight attendant.[7]

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, interest in the case declined.[8] Condit kept his seat on the Intelligence Committee, retained his security clearance, and was one of a small number of members of Congress who were cleared to see the most sensitive information on the 9/11 attacks. On December 7, 2001, he announced he would run for re-election. He lost the Democratic primary election in March 2002 to his former aide, then-Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, and left Congress at the end of his term in January 2003.[9] Condit's most notable vote in his last months in office was the resolution to expel Congressman James Traficant after his conviction on corruption charges. In the 420–1 vote on July 24, 2002, Condit was the sole "nay".[10]

Later life[edit]

Chandra Levy[edit]

Levy's remains did not turn up during the extensive search that followed her disappearance, but were discovered by accident on May 22, 2002, by a man hunting for turtles with his dog in a secluded area of Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. That month, a medical examiner officially declared that Levy's death was the result of homicide. Condit initiated a lawsuit against Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne in a New York federal court in late 2002 for $11 million, claiming that statements made by Dunne about Condit defamed him; the comments indicated that Condit ordered the death of Levy in 2001. Condit's attorney said the libel lawsuit was based on comments Dunne repeated on national radio and television programs in December 2001 where he suggested Condit frequented Middle Eastern embassies for sexual activity with prostitutes, and during those times, he made it clear that he wanted someone to get rid of Levy. Condit's attorney said that Dunne's comments "conveyed that Gary Condit was involved in her kidnapping and in her murder, that friends of Gary Condit had her kidnapped, put in an airplane and dropped in the Atlantic Ocean." Dunne paid an undisclosed amount to settle that lawsuit in March 2005.[11] Dunne said he had been "completely hoodwinked" by an unreliable informant. Subsequently Condit sued Dunne again, charging him with "revivifying" the slander in an appearance on Larry King Live in November 2005. In July 2008 a federal judge dismissed the second lawsuit filed against Dunne.[12]

In July 2006, Condit sued the Sonoran News, a free weekly circular, for defamation of character, after the publication wrote "that Condit was the 'main focus in the Chandra Levy case in 2001, after lying to investigators about his affair with Levy.'"[13] The case was dismissed in July 2007 when the judge ruled that Condit had not proved the statement was false, or that the paper had published it with malice.

In March 2009, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant who had already been convicted and imprisoned for two other attacks on women in Rock Creek Park. He was subsequently indicted for Levy's murder.[14][15] On November 22, 2010, Guandique was found guilty of first-degree murder,[16] and was sentenced in February 2011 to 60 years in prison.[17] Condit's lawyer Bert Fields said, "It's a complete vindication but that comes a little late. Who gives him his career back?"[18]

Personal life[edit]

Business[edit]

After his departure from office, Condit moved to Arizona and operated an ice cream store franchise.[19] He was a civil defendant for costs due to the franchise failures and is defending a civil suit for fees and costs.[20] He is now serving as president of the Phoenix Institute of Desert Agriculture[21]

Family[edit]

In 2012, Condit's son, Chad, announced his intention to run for the House of Representatives as an independent in California's redrawn 10th congressional district. He lost in the top-two election against incumbent Jeff Denham and Democratic challenger Jose Hernandez.[22]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Willie Brown: The Members' Speaker" by James D. Richardson, 1994. APF Reporter Vol. 16 No. 2. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  2. ^ "Archive: Condit 1" Undated, 2001. The Smoking Gun archives. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  3. ^ "Stunned in Sacramento" by Anthony York, July 14, 2001. Salon Magazine (online). Accessed December 19, 2006.
  4. ^ "Chandra Levy’s Jewish Angle" by James D. Besser, July 20, 2001. Jewish Journal. Accessed December 18, 2006.
  5. ^ a b "Gary Condit Profile: Levy case opens door on secret life" Undated article published between March 2002 and January 2003. CNN News. Accessed December 19, 2006
  6. ^ "Police sources: Condit admits to affair with Levy" July 7, 2001. CNN News. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  7. ^ "Transcript of Fox News' Interview With Anne Marie Smith" July 11, 2001. Fox News. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  8. ^ "Who Killed Chandra Levy?" Washington Post. July 23, 2008. Accessed Aug. 2008. [1]
  9. ^ " Condit Loses House Race To Former Aide" by Evelyn Nieves, March 6, 2002. New York Times. Accessed March 24, 2008.
  10. ^ Thomas, John D. (August 11, 2002). "Roll Call Standouts, or Bumps on the Congressional Log". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Condit elusive, persistent in federal court battles", Scripps, 4 June 2007.
  12. ^ "Condit's slander suit against writer dismissed", CNN, 8 July 2008. Accessed 8 July 2008.
  13. ^ Doyle, Michael. "Condit: Plaintiff and defendant", Modesto Bee, 26 July 2006. Accessed 19 December 2006.
  14. ^ Alexander, Keith L. (May 28, 2009). "Suspect Pleads Not Guilty; Defense Decries Trial Date". The Washington Post. p. B8. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  15. ^ Higham, Scott; Horwitz, Sari (2010). Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery. New York City: Scribner. ISBN 978-1-4391-3867-0. OCLC 430842090. 
  16. ^ Alexander, Keith L.; Cauvin, Henri E. (November 22, 2010). "Ingmar Guandique convicted of first-degree murder of former intern Chandra Levy". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  17. ^ "BBC News: Chandra Levy: Guandique gets 60 years for 2001 murder" BBC News US & Canada, February 11, 2011
  18. ^ Dorell, Oren (November 22, 2010). "Jury convicts Guandique of murdering Chandra Levy". USA Today. USA Today. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Down-and-Out Ex-D.C. Figures Find Second Life on Talk Radio". Fox News. September 21, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  20. ^ Michael Doyle, McClatchy Newspapers. "Baskin-Robbins found it hard to get scoop on Gary Condit | McClatchy". Mcclatchydc.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  21. ^ Kamen, Al (May 9, 2012). "Remember Gary Condit? He's back in politics". The Washington Post. 
  22. ^ "Denham and Hernandez win in Central Valley congressional race". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 

External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by
John E. Thurman
California State Assemblyman, 27th District
1982-1989
Succeeded by
Sal Cannella
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tony Coelho
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 15th congressional district

1989–1993
Succeeded by
Norman Mineta
Preceded by
Richard H. Lehman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 18th congressional district

1993–2003
Succeeded by
Dennis Cardoza