Former Democratic congressman Gary Condit has testified he never had a “romantic” relationship with Chandra Levy, a newly public deposition shows.
But he’s still going to have to answer more detailed questions about what kind of relationship he did have with the late intern.
In a videotaped deposition, excerpts of which were aired Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show, Condit said Levy never indicated she loved him. He further testified his own spirits dropped during the protracted media frenzy that followed Levy’s 2001 disappearance.
“I had some emotional trauma during that, but I was so busy campaigning that I took very little time out to deal with that,” Condit said during the deposition. “So I dealt with that more seriously after the campaign.”
The deposition was taken as part of Condit’s $11 million defamation lawsuit against author Dominick Dunne. The videotape was leaked to the “Today” show, which will air a second round of excerpts Wednesday.
In the deposition that stopped short of the most intimate details, Condit further testified his relationship with Levy remained “just friendship.” He said he never visited her Washington apartment and only met with her six or seven times at his Capitol Hill office, and once at a restaurant.
“I was having dinner at a place near my house,” Condit explained, according to a transcript of the deposition posted on the “Today” show’s Web site. “She called me. I said, ‘I’m having dinner.’ She wanted to talk, and I said I’ll be down at this particular place. And I was there. She showed up.”
In the deposition, Condit explained that he gave Levy advice about joining the FBI or CIA.
Condit’s attorney, L. Lin Wood, blocked questions that sought to delve more deeply into Condit’s sex life.
A federal judge noted, for instance, that Condit declined to answer questions such as “Did you have a sexual relationship with Ms. Levy?”, “Was your relationship what people would consider an affair?”, “Was there any physical intimacy of any kind in your relationship?” and “Did Ms. Levy ever spend the night in your apartment?”
The judge, U.S. District Judge Peter Leisure, has ordered Condit to answer such questions in a second deposition to take place within several weeks.
“It is important to realize that while Condit continues to deny that he had a ‘romantic relationship’ with Ms. Levy, he refused to answer any further questions about their relationship,” Dunne’s attorney, Paul LiCalsi, said Tuesday. “He refused to answer whether he had had an affair with Chandra Levy and whether he had had a sexual relationship with her.”
LiCalsi added that with the upcoming follow-up deposition, “Condit cannot continue to stonewall on the exact nature and circumstances surrounding this relationship and how that relationship may have figured into (Levy’s) disappearance.”
Wood, Condit’s attorney, could not be reached to comment.
Levy disappeared in 2001. Her skeletal remains were discovered in 2002, shortly after Condit was defeated in a March Democratic primary election. Investigators have never identified any suspects in the unsolved murder, though that did not stop reporters from hounding Condit for months.
Dunne, for one, appeared frequently on CNN’s “Larry King Live” and other shows, floating scenarios like one in which procurers for Middle Eastern embassies spirited Levy away.
“I have a guy that’s on Court TV, who writes books, who has legitimacy, credibility, telling people on TV that Gary Condit had Middle Eastern people organized to do away with that woman,” Condit testified. “How absurd, how lame. But it hurt. And it hurt me badly. It shut me down.”
Condit maintains his reputation and ability to make a living suffered from unfounded allegations and implications raised by Dunne during television and radio appearances.
Dunne, too, already has been subjected to a videotaped deposition. Although it has not been made public, yet, attorneys for both Condit and Dunne have previously charged the other side with trying the case through the media.
“This could be fodder nightly on the news for tabloid television shows,” LiCalsi told Judge Leisure during oral arguments late last year, a transcript shows.
Wood replied at the time that “this case started on television,” and that “Dominick Dunne made (the) decision to put this case into the television area.” Wood further dismissed notions that there would be much lasting public interest even in Condit’s deposition.
“With all due respect even to my well-known client,” Wood said, “Gary Condit is not Bill Clinton, and Dominick Dunne is not Bill Clinton.”
Judge Leisure ultimately ruled that the Dunne deposition could be made public, adding that he would “conclude that neither Mr. Wood nor Mr. LiCalsi have malicious or improper intentions regarding any of the discovery materials in this case.”