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 Mineta
Personal details
Born Gary Adrian Condit
(1948-04-21) April 21, 1948 (age 69)
Salina, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Carolyn Berry
Children 2
Education Modesto Junior College (AA)
California State University, Stanislaus (BA)

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 California's 15th congressional 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. Condit lost the 2002 Democratic primary based in large part on negative publicity from the scandal. Prosecutors later convicted an illegal immigrant and Mara Salvatrucha member, Ingmar Guandique, who had committed other assaults with similar characteristics. However, lacking physical evidence, the verdict was overturned and charges subsequently dropped by Washington D.C. prosecutors after the testimony of a jailhouse informant was determined to be unreliable.

Early life

Condit was born born in Salina, Oklahoma on April 21, 1948,[1] the son of Velma Jean (Tidwell) Condit (1929–2017) and Adrian Burl Condit, a Baptist minister.[2][3][4] He was raised and educated in Oklahoma, and graduated from Tulsa's Nathan Hale High School.[5] During the summers of his high school years, Condit worked as a roustabout in Oklahoma's oil fields.[6] He was 18 in 1967 when he married his high school sweetheart Carolyn Berry.[6] An investigation by journalists in 2001 revealed that Condit provided the wrong birth date for his marriage license.[6] At the time, Oklahoma required males under age 21 to have parental consent to marry; by claiming to have been born in 1942 rather than 1948, Condit appeared to be older than 18.[6]

In 1967, Condit's father became pastor of a church in Ceres, California, and the Condit family relocated to California.[6] Condit began attendance at Modesto Junior College, and received an associate of arts degree in 1970.[7] In 1972, he received a bachelor of science degree from California State University, Stanislaus.[7]

While attending college and at the start of his career, Condit worked at a variety of jobs, including one at a tomato cannery,[6] one at a factory that made munitions during the Vietnam War,[8] and in the paint department of a Montgomery Ward department store.[6]

Political career

Condit began his career on the city council of Ceres, California; near Modesto, from 1972 to 1976—the last two years as mayor. He served on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors from 1976 to 1982, and was elected to the California State Assembly in 1982.

California State Assembly

In 1988, 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[9]which failed to unseat Willie Brown as Speaker of the California State Assembly, by making a deal with Republicans. Peace co-wrote and produced the 1988 film Return of the Killer Tomatoes, in which Condit appeared in an uncredited, nonspeaking cameo during a fight sequence.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives

Condit was elected to Congress in 1989 in a special election, after House Democratic Whip Tony Coelho resigned. He was elected to a full term in 1990, and reelected five more times without serious difficulty (Condit had no Republican challenger during the general elections of 1992 and 1998). 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 attacks. Like most Democrats from the Central Valley, Condit was somewhat more conservative than other Democrats from California. A Blue Dog Democrat, Condit voted against President Bill Clinton more frequently than all Congressional Democrats.[11]

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 scandal involving a relationship with intern Chandra Levy.[12] Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, interest in the Levy case declined.[13] 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, Condit 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.[14] 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".[15]

Levy scandal

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.[16][17] 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 younger than his daughter, and his attempts to mislead the police regarding 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 into a dumpster in one of Washington's Virginia suburbs.[16] This followed news reports that Condit had had an affair with a flight attendant.[18] Because of the Levy scandal, Condit was portrayed on an episode of South Park, where he was considered responsible for the disappearance of Chandra Levy.

Levy's remains were not found during the extensive search that followed her disappearance, but were discovered accidentally May 22, 2002 in a secluded area of Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C.; the death was declared a homicide.

Condit sued Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne in late 2002 for $11 million, claiming that Dunne defamed him by suggesting he ordered Levy killed in 2001. Condit's attorney said that 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.[19] 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.[20]

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.'"[21] 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 from El Salvador 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.[22][23] On November 22, 2010, Guandique was found guilty of first-degree murder,[24] and was sentenced in February 2011 to 60 years in prison.[25] Condit's lawyer Bert Fields said, "It's a complete vindication but that comes a little late. Who gives him his career back?"[26]

However, on June 4, 2015, D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald Fisher granted a motion for the retrial of Guandique after it was revealed that the sole witness against him, a jailhouse snitch named Armando Morales, had lied about prior jailhouse testimony.[27] Prosecutors dropped all charges against Guandique on July 28, 2016 after an associate of Morales came forward with secret recordings in which he admitted to falsifying testimony about the murder of Chandra Levy.[28][29] The murder of Chandra Levy therefore remains unsolved.

Business career

After his departure from office, Condit moved to Arizona where he operated two Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores with his wife and son.[30] When the franchise failed, Condit was ordered to pay the company $98,000 in a breach of contract proceeding.[31][32] In 2012, he was reported to be serving as president of the Phoenix Institute of Desert Agriculture,[33] which listed its status as 'Dissolved' in the last corporate filing as of June 4, 2015.[34]

Family

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.[35] Condit has a daughter, Cadee, who is married to Assembly member Adam Gray, formerly a Condit aide.[36]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ United States Congress (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. pp. 860–861. ISBN 978-0-16-073176-1. 
  2. ^ "CNN Programs – People in the News". CNN. 
  3. ^ "Gary Adrian Condit (Private, Male)". condit-family.com. 
  4. ^ Arax, Mark; Braun, Stephen (July 16, 2001). "Condit: From Success to Scandal". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, CA. 
  5. ^ "Levy case opens door on secret life". CNN.com. Atlanta, GA. 2001. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Condit: From Success to Scandal".
  7. ^ a b Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005, pp. 860-861.
  8. ^ McHale, Terence (Winter 2008). "Gary Condit: From All Angles". California Conversations. Sacramento, CA. 
  9. ^ "Willie Brown: The Members' Speaker" Archived June 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. by James D. Richardson, 1994. APF Reporter Vol. 16 No. 2. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  10. ^ "Archive: Condit 1" Undated, 2001. The Smoking Gun archives. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  11. ^ "Stunned in Sacramento" Archived 2006-03-18 at the Wayback Machine. by Anthony York, July 14, 2001. Salon Magazine (online). Accessed December 19, 2006.
  12. ^ "Chandra Levy's Jewish Angle" by James D. Besser, July 20, 2001. Jewish Journal. Accessed December 18, 2006.
  13. ^ "Who Killed Chandra Levy?" Washington Post. July 23, 2008. Accessed Aug. 2008. [1]
  14. ^ " Condit Loses House Race To Former Aide" by Evelyn Nieves, March 6, 2002. New York Times. Accessed March 24, 2008.
  15. ^ Thomas, John D. (August 11, 2002). "Roll Call Standouts, or Bumps on the Congressional Log". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ "Police sources: Condit admits to affair with Levy" Archived 2008-12-11 at the Wayback Machine. July 7, 2001. CNN News. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  18. ^ "Transcript of Fox News' Interview With Anne Marie Smith" July 11, 2001. Fox News. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  19. ^ "Condit elusive, persistent in federal court battles" Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine., Scripps, 4 June 2007.
  20. ^ "Condit's slander suit against writer dismissed" Archived 2008-07-12 at the Wayback Machine., CNN, 8 July 2008. Accessed 8 July 2008.
  21. ^ Doyle, Michael. "Condit: Plaintiff and defendant" Archived 2007-07-04 at the Wayback Machine., Modesto Bee, 26 July 2006. Accessed 19 December 2006.
  22. ^ Alexander, Keith L. (May 28, 2009). "Suspect Pleads Not Guilty; Defense Decries Trial Date". The Washington Post. p. B8. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  23. ^ Higham, Scott; Horwitz, Sari (2010). Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery. New York City: Scribner. ISBN 978-1-4391-3867-0. OCLC 430842090. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ "BBC News: Chandra Levy: Guandique gets 60 years for 2001 murder" BBC News US & Canada, February 11, 2011
  26. ^ Dorell, Oren (November 22, 2010). "Jury convicts Guandique of murdering Chandra Levy". USA Today. USA Today. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Judge grants new trial in death of intern Chandra Levy" Fox News Channel from Associated Press: June 4, 2015. Accessed June 4, 2015
  28. ^ "Secret recordings emerged and the Chandra Levy case rapidly unraveled". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  29. ^ PÉREZ-PEÑA, RICHARD. "Charges Dropped Against Man Accused of Killing Chandra Levy". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  30. ^ "Down-and-Out Ex-D.C. Figures Find Second Life on Talk Radio". Fox News. September 21, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  31. ^ Michael Doyle. "Baskin-Robbins found it hard to get scoop on Gary Condit". McClatchy. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  32. ^ Emily Heil (2012-05-07). "Gary Condit, scandal-scarred, returns to campaign trail (Catching up with ...)". Washington Post. 
  33. ^ Kamen, Al (May 9, 2012). "Remember Gary Condit? He's back in politics". The Washington Post. 
  34. ^ https://www.californiaexplore.com/company/03402192/phoenix-institute-of-desert-agriculture "Explore California Records". 
  35. ^ "Denham and Hernandez win in Central Valley congressional race". Los Angeles Times. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  36. ^ "Adam Gray: A canny California politician forges his own path". Sacramento Bee. 

External links

California Assembly
Preceded by
John E. Thurman
Member of the California Assembly
from the 27th district

1982–1989
Succeeded by
Sal Cannella
U.S. 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
Party political offices
New office Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition for Administration
1995–1999
Served alongside: John S. Tanner (Communications), Nathan Deal, Collin Peterson (Policy)
Succeeded by
Robert E. Cramer
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