WASHINGTON, July 9, 2001 -- Rep. Gary Condit's lawyer issued another plea for the media to stop focusing suspicion on his client as the family of missing intern Chandra Levy called on the congressman to take a lie detector test.
Rep. Gary Condit's lawyer issued another plea for the media to stop focusing suspicion on his client as the family of missing intern Chandra Levy called on the congressman to take a lie detector test.
The family of the 24-year-old former Federal Bureau of Prisons intern say they question the congressman's truthfulness about when he last spoke to their daughter and are suspicious of other information he may or may not be offering to police.
"Mr. Condit has not been very truthful to me up until now and I think there are things that are unknown and the truth has to come out," Chandra's mother, Susan Levy, told reporters tonight outside her home in Northern California.
On the other side of the nation in Washington, Condit's attorney Abbe Lowell held a news conference shortly thereafter vowing his client would give authorities anything they wanted.
"The congressman is going to make available what police ask for that for that they think is helpful," Lowell said.
But Lowell said he lacked confidence in the reliability of lie detectors and would only consider discussing it with his client if police urged him to do so.
Police can have anything they want, Lowell said, whether it's access to Condit's apartment, phone records or a request that the congressman's entire staff be made available. In fact, Lowell said, the police have already been in Condit's apartment. The congressman invited them there to conduct his very first interview.
When Levy's mother Susan and her attorney, Billy Martin, met with Condit, the congressman claimed to have last spoken with Chandra on April 25, the sources said. But, according to sources, Condit told police he last spoke to Chandra on April 29.
Levy was last seen on April 30, when she canceled a gym membership in downtown Washington. Her last known communication — an e-mail to her parents in California — was received on May 1.
Condit's lawyer Abbe Lowell said he understood the Levy family's concerns, but insisted the congressman is already cooperating as much as is needed.
Asked directly whether Condit would submit to a lie detector test, Lowell told ABCNEWS, "We'll cross that bridge if we come to it."
In a prepared statement released today, Lowell said, "Surely the time has come to focus less on Congressman Condit and more on the 99 other people police have identified who might be as helpful in providing information that could find Chandra."
Condit Admits Affair
After weeks of failing to disclose the true nature of his relationship with Levy, Condit admitted to police that they had a sexual relationship during a third interview with investigators Friday night.
Police still insist the congressman is not a suspect in the case and say he is being "fully cooperative."
Condit told police the relationship was ongoing at the time of Levy's disappearance, sources tell ABCNEWS. For weeks, the congressman had denied having an affair with Levy.
A source close to the Levy family said they are outraged Condit took so long to clarify to authorities the nature of his relationship with Levy, and fear it may have hurt the investigation.
On the Sunday morning talk shows, Lowell defended his client's decision to say nothing publicly about the case.
"He is not going to invade his family's private life," Lowell said. "He's a public figure that is holding onto his private life. And so what he has said to police is important to act on, but it's not important for the media to glom onto."
Police said they are satisfied with Condit's answers in Friday's questioning. But Joseph diGenova, a former U.S. attorney, said police were being "politic in the sense of trying not to be accusatory of a public figure."
"It's quite obvious that he [Condit] has not cooperated with the police," diGenova said. "That he has withheld information from them and I'm quite sure that they are very suspicious of his actions."
Aspects of Relationship Covered
Speaking Sunday on ABCNEWS' This Week, Lowell said the questions police asked his client covered all aspects of the relationship, such as, "How was [Condit's] contact with Miss Levy, and how did they meet, and how often did they get to see each other, and what was the nature of it."
Levy's disappearance remains classified as a missing persons case, not a crime. But the investigation is being headed up by veteran homicide detectives and, outside of Washington, FBI agents. Washington's assistant police chief Terrance Gainer said several theories about the disappearance are being explored.
"We feel very confident in the information that the congressman provided us with," Gainer said. "Unfortunately, it does not lead us closer to figuring out where missing Chandra Levy is."
ABCNEWS' Pierre Thomas contributed to this report