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Gary Condit to write ‘my side of the story’ about Chandra Levy

By Carol Eisenberg

February 23, 2009 at 2:34pm

Planning to spin his vindication in the long-unsolved murder of Washington intern Chandra Levy into something larger, former California Rep. Gary Condit is shopping a proposal to write a tell-all memoir.

“I had always hoped to have the opportunity to tell my side of this story, but too many were not prepared to listen. Now I plan to do so,” he said in a statement to WJLA-TV in Washington.

Although Condit had always denied any involvement in Levy’s disappearance, his reluctant admission that he was having an affair with the 24-year-old intern, combined with authorities’ failure to find her murderer, destroyed his political career.

After losing his seat in 2002 in a primary contest by a former aide, the conservative Democrat moved with his wife to Phoenix and opened two Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores.

Condit’s agent, Rachelle Gardner at WordServe Literary, told Publishers Marketplace that she is submitting Condit’s book proposal to several publishers this week. In the proposal, she said, Condit promises to reveal “the reason he has stayed silent and never spoken out on his own behalf in eight years” and to detail “what really happened between himself and Ms. Levy.”

He also intends to write about “the media and the public’s power to destroy a public figure and keep on punishing them without end, regardless of guilt or innocence,” she said.

It is understandable Condit would hail reports that police plan to charge Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique with Levy’s murder. Condit has always been linked to the crime in the public’s mind, despite police statements that he was not a suspect. Levy disappeared from Washington, D.C. in May of 2001, shortly after finishing an internship with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She was expected to return to California, but never arrived. Her body was found in a park that runs through the capitol nearly a year later.

Guandique has been serving a 10-year sentence in a federal prison in California for attacking two joggers in Rock Creek Park around the time of Levy’s disappearance. In both those cases, he came up behind the runners with a knife, but the women fought him off and fled. In the past, he had denied having anything to do with Levy’s murder and reportedly passed a lie detector test.

For all the harm done to him as a result of suspicions, Condit would be well-advised not to write a screed about how the media destroyed his political career. This was a man, after all, who represented himself as a champion of family values. In his conservative rural district, he was known as the son of a Baptist minister who had married his high-school sweetheart and who backed legislation to post the Ten Commandments in public buildings and attacked President Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

His reputation suffered not just because of revelations about his womanizing (other women came forward to say they had had affairs with him), but his attempts to mislead the authorities. Police questioned him twice in the early days after Levy’s disappearance, and Condit denied having an affair with her; however, after Levy’s aunt went public with conversations she had had with her missing niece, he confessed to a romantic involvement in a third sit-down with police. When the affair began, Condit was 53 and Levy was 23.

He hurt his credibility again when he 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.

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