Monday, November 22, 2010

Gary Condit

Gary Adrian Condit (born April 21, 1948) is a former American politician, a Democrat who served in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 2003. Condit represented California's 18th congressional district which includes much of the northern San Joaquin Valley (when he was first elected, this district was the 15th District; it became the 18th district after redistricting following the 1990 census).
Condit gained significant national attention for an extramarital affair with Chandra Levy, which was exposed after Levy's disappearance in May 2001.

Political career

In 1988, Democratic Assemblyman Condit was a member of the "Gang of Five," consisting of Condit, Charles M. Calderon of Whittier, Gerald R. Eaves of Rialto, Rusty Areias of Los Banos, and Steve Peace of Chula Vista, California. 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.
Condit was later elected to Congress in a 1989 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 and Washington, D.C.
According to Salon, Condit voted against President Bill Clinton most frequently of all Congressional Democrats. 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.
In May 2001, Condit became the subject of international news coverage after the May 1 disappearance of Chandra Levy, a young woman working as a Washington, D.C. intern originally from Condit's district. Police questioned him twice, and Condit denied having an affair with her; however, after Levy's aunt went public with conversations she had had with her missing niece about the adulterous liaison, police questioned him a third time, and Condit confessed to the relationship. 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 the intern's disappearance. Public interest was high, and Condit's reputation suffered from the contrast between his "pro-family" politics and 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, but 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. Suspicion deepened when Condit tried to avoid answering direct questions during a televised interview with news anchor Connie Chung on August 23. This followed news reports that Condit had an affair with flight attendant Anne Marie Smith.
Condit mostly disappeared from the news after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Condit kept his seat on the Intelligence Committee, retained his security clearance, and was one of 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 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. It was the first election Condit ever lost. Condit's most notable vote in his last months in office was the House of Representatives resolution to expel Congressman James Traficant after his conviction on corruption charges. In the 420-1 vote on July 24, 2002, Gary Condit was the sole "nay".


After his departure from office, Condit was residing in Arizona and operating two ice cream store franchises with a lack of success. He was a civil defendant for costs due to the franchise failures and is defending a civil suit for fees and costs
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 libeled him. The comments indicated that Condit ordered the death of missing Modesto intern Chandra Levy in 2001. Condit's attorney said the defamation 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. Wood 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.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.
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.'" 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 actual malice.
In March 2009, police issued a warrant for the arrest of Ingmar Guandique for the murder of Chandra Levy. Guandique is a prison inmate who had confessed to two other attacks on women in Rock Creek Park. He was subsequently indicted for Levy's murder. Jury selection in Guandique's trial began on October 18, 2010
Guandique was found guilty of Murder on 11-22-2010.


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