Condit denies asking anyone to withhold information on Levy |

Condit denies asking anyone to withhold information on Levy

WASHINGTON (AP) – Rep. Gary Condit denied on Tuesday that he had asked a flight attendant to withhold information from authorities investigating the disappearance of a young California woman.

The flight attendant, Anne Marie Smith, told Fox News that she had a yearlong affair with Condit. She said he contacted her last month and was upset when she told him she had been called by FBI agents who were interviewing people about intern Chandra Levy’s disappearance.

”He said that, ‘You don’t have to talk to the media – you don’t have to talk to anybody. You don’t even have to talk to the FBI,”’ Smith said.

She also said that Condit, who is 53 and married, urged her to sign a declaration that denied a relationship between them.

Condit, D-Calif., issued a brief statement Tuesday concerning the Levy investigation: ”I have not asked anyone to refrain from discussing this matter with authorities, nor have I suggested anyone mislead the authorities.”

His statement made no mention of Smith.

Condit’s San Francisco-based lawyers acknowledged sending Smith a statement that included wording such as she described saying there was no relationship, but they denied urging her to sign it. They said the document was a draft requested by Smith’s lawyer, James Robinson of Seattle.

”Mr. Robinson asked that a draft statement be sent to him, that he would review it with his client and make changes as necessary,” said a statement from the law firm of Cotchett, Pitre and Simon.

Smith and Robinson did not return telephone calls from The Associated Press.

It was unclear whether or how Smith’s allegations might fit into the search for Levy, 24, a former Washington intern for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons from Modesto, Calif., which is in Condit’s district. She has not been seen since April 30.

Police have said repeatedly that Condit is not a suspect in Levy’s disappearance, which is being handled as a missing person case, not a crime.

While police have called Condit cooperative in two interviews with detectives, Terrance W. Gainer, the District of Columbia’s second-ranking police official, said he believes there ”is more to know” about Condit’s dealings with Levy. Police, working with the FBI, are arranging to speak to Condit’s wife, who lives in Ceres, Calif.

Condit’s aides have denied he was having an affair with Levy. Her mother has said Levy acknowledged in April that she was seeing Condit.

Smith, 39, told Fox News that Condit urged her to sign the form she was sent denying an affair between them.

”Mr. Condit knew it was false and he was asking me to sign it,” she said. ”He said … this could be potentially embarrassing for both of us.”

Condit’s lawyers said Robinson called them once he had reviewed the document to say Smith would not sign it. Smith ”had already talked to the FBI and given the FBI details of her relationship,” the lawyers reported Robinson said. ”Any statement, he said, would have to reflect her conversations with the FBI.”

The attorneys for Condit and Smith have not been in touch since, Condit’s lawyers said.

Robinson has said Smith met Condit last July on a flight between Washington and San Francisco, a route flown frequently by the congressman. They had an affair that lasted until May, when Smith read accounts of Levy’s disappearance, he said.

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