A chronology of the Chandra Levy story, updated as news breaks. Click here if you want to read the whole story from the beginning.
Thursday, June 21: In the afternoon, Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., releases a statement that criticizes the "tabloidization" of the Chandra Levy case: "All I ask is that the media show restraint and avoid distracting the public and law enforcement from their primary task of trying to find Chandra. The 'tabloidization' of these terrible circumstances can only cause more pain to the Levys while at the same time doing nothing to help find Chandra."
Susan Levy, Chandra's mother, meets with Condit at 9:30 p.m. in an undisclosed location. After an aide to Condit called the Levys' lawyer, Billy Martin, the Levys delayed their plans to return to Modesto that night. Mike Dayton, Condit's Washington chief of staff, tells the Washington Post the meeting was a "private conversation." Robert Levy, Chandra's father, declined to attend.
"Sources who were given an account of the meeting" tell the Washington Post it was "tense," not very substantive, and did not involve much mention of Condit's relationship with Chandra. One source says: "It didn't seem like a lot got accomplished. The lawyers did most of the talking."
Friday, June 22: Condit hires criminal defense lawyer Abbe D. Lowell, who specializes in white-collar crime. The Washington Post calls Lowell "one of Washington's most seasoned lawyers."
Mike Lynch, chief of staff in Condit's Modesto, Calif., office, tells the Washington Post that Lowell will "help us navigate through the Washington maze." Lynch also says Lowell was hired for his relationship with Martin. Lowell had been counseling Condit unofficially, and he helped to arrange Condit's meeting with Susan Levy. Newsweek later reports that Lowell called Condit and offered his services.
Saturday, June 23: Condit meets with D.C. police at 3 p.m. for one hour. It is Condit's second police interview. Lowell sits in on the meeting. Police had requested the meeting two weeks before, and they say it is a routine interview.
Sunday, June 24: D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey appears on ABC's This Week and discusses the Condit interview. "We got some useful information but not a lot that would lead us to Chandra Levy, unfortunately," Ramsey says. The New York Post reports that police sought the interview after Condit's previous lawyer, Joseph Cotchett, said Condit's wife was in Washington the week Levy disappeared. That contradicted what Condit had said earlier about the case, according to the New York Post.
Ramsey also tells This Week that the tape quality of the video system at Levy's apartment is "very, very poor" and that some evidence was taped over because the police didn't know Levy was missing until a week after her disappearance. Nothing useful is found on what remains of the surveillance tapes. Ramsey encourages witnesses or anyone with information on Levy to call the D.C. police operations command at (202) 727-9099. The number is manned 24 hours a day.
D.C. Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance Gainer tells the Washington Post there are no plans to interview Condit again but says it is a possibility: "We will go where the leads take us." The Post also reports that Condit is media-shy. "While he's been criticized for not holding press conferences daily, to me that's vintage Gary Condit," his "close friend" Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., tells the paper. "He's quiet, he's reserved. He always operated below the radar screen." In response to critics who want Condit to address the media directly, rather than through spokesmen, the Washington Post notes that Condit asked a colleague on the House floor recently, "What would you suggest I do?"
Monday, June 25:Newsweek reporters Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff report that Chandra Levy hoped to obtain a full-time job at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where she worked as an intern. But three days before her disappearance, Newsweek reports, Levy was dismissed suddenly when she admitted off-hand that she had received her master's degree in public administration from USC in December. Because Levy's internship was supposed to end four months after her graduation, she had to leave.
Newsweek also reports that investigators are examining the possibility that emotional distress over her personal life and the sudden loss of her internship may have led Levy to run away or even commit suicide. Newsweek reports that police sources say there is "some evidence" that Levy may have been upset by a recent breakup, and they believe Condit may be the man in question. Police also tell Newsweek there is evidence that Levy "felt let down when someone in a position to help her keep her job didn't intervene. Police believe Condit could be that person." A "source close to the case" tells the newsweekly that investigators "have begun quietly interviewing former Condit interns, looking for a possible pattern of behavior." The source stresses the police have "nothing" that would implicate Condit in any crime. Police have contacted morgues across the country, Newsweek adds, in a fruitless search for Jane Does matching Levy's description.
One scrap of evidence could support the theory that Chandra Levy was abducted or killed, Newsweek concludes. A relative gave Chandra a check for less than $100 before she disappeared. The check, which was missing from her apartment, has not been cashed.
Political ramifications: Observers are starting to speculate whether the Levy case will damage Condit's political prospects. Jeff Benziger, editor of the Ceres Courier, a weekly in Condit's district, tells the New York Daily News: "He's just the darling of his district. I've often thought he had the seat for life, so I would imagine this is not going to have a lot of impact unless they come up with something really good." But Modesto City Councilman Bill Conrad, a Republican who ran against Condit in 1996 and lost, says Condit would be damaged if it turns out he had an affair with Levy. "It's a conservative area with strong family values," he said. "They'd be shocked. This isn't like the rest of California."
Condit may already be hurt by the scandal. The Washington Post reports that a "close ally" of California Gov. Gray Davis said Condit was a possible candidate for state insurance commissioner before the Levy case surfaced. And an aide to one California Democrat tells the Washington Post: "He'll forever be linked with her, even if she's never found." The Post adds that Republicans won't comment on whether they will challenge Condit in the fall. Condit won re-election in 2000 with 67 percent of the vote.
Condit's son, Chad, may also be hurt politically. He had been planning to launch his political career next year with a run for the California Assembly, the New York Daily News reports.
Hollywooderrata: The New York Daily News believes Condit looks like William H. Macy, but Susan Levy says Chandra told her the boyfriend "sort of looked like Harrison Ford." The Smoking Gun Web site offers pictures from Condit's uncredited appearance in the 1988 cult film, Return of the Killer Tomatoes.
(For the complete Chandra Levy chronology, click here.)
Explainer thanks the Washington Post, New York Post, New York Daily News, and Newsweek.