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Condit Attorney Praises Client's Cooperation with Police

Aired July 9, 2001 - 19:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Leon Harris here in Atlanta.

Let's go live to Washington, where Abbe Lowell, the lawyer representing Gary Condit is speaking now to the press.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ABBE LOWELL, CONDIT ATTORNEY: ...on the number of questions I could take.

On Saturday, Executive Chief of Police Terrance Gainer reiterated as much as a police officer could possibly, that Congressman Condit has never been and is not now a suspect in the disappearance of Chandra Levy. He and other police officials have also confirmed that the congressman and Mrs. Condit been fully cooperative and have answered all of the questions asked of them. The congressman has said throughout the ordeal that he would cooperate with the police in any way that he could.

Yet, no matter what has occurred, the media continues to spend almost all of its time focusing on Congressman Condit. With that in mind, I have followed up today with the authorities with two goals.

First, to see what else we could do that might be of any additional help in trying to find Miss Levy. And second, to allow the police to get back to the other 99 people that they have identified, and the leads that these people might be able to provide.

If it will be helpful to either of those two goals, the congressman will provide whatever additional information or material he can to the police. This includes access to his apartment, telephone or cell phone records, a request that his entire staff make themselves available, and whatever else I can arrange with the police.

Let me say again, I hope any or all of this will be useful in finding Chandra Levy. But let me also say that the police have spoken with nearly 100 other people who must also have information. We hope that these others are just as forthcoming, and that one of them can provide a lead to Miss Levy.

QUESTION: Does that include a lie detector test?

LOWELL: I have just said that I will work with the police and I will do with the police what they find useful. And the congressman will be as cooperative as he can possibly be. With respect to lie detectors, I know there is a great public appeal to lie detectors, but I know from my own practice that they leave a lot to be desired.

If the police call me and tell me that at some point they think that, no matter how suspect it might be, can be helpful, I will discuss it with them, but I will discuss it with them, and not with you.

QUESTION: The records you say you are willing to turn over, you cited a few examples. Would those records if, you know, following the guidelines you just introduced, if the police requested them for reasons they outlined to you in private, if they include a DNA sample, would you be open to that?

LOWELL: If the police say to me that they believe having a DNA sample for somebody who is not a suspect, maybe because they want to eliminate all the other men in the United States, well then that is something I will receive from them and Congressman Condit will cooperate.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

LOWELL: This is not the result of a subpoena. This is a result of what I said it was a result for. You know, on Friday, Congressman Condit asked me to call the police to arrange that third interview before we knew that the police had made any statement asking for that third interview, and I think, Chief Gainer made that clear Saturday when he said it was simultaneous, so this is in that same spirit.

And it is a two-pronged goal, as I have said. Look. The congressman wants to see if anything he has, anything he knows, anything he could surmise, could help lead to finding this missing person. But the congressman would also like to let you know that you have spent a little bit too much time focusing only on him. If the chief is correct, that there are 99 other people out there that they have spoken to, and it is time to let them get on with the business of finding this woman.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

LOWELL: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

LOWELL: You heard my statements today and my statements today were that the police have said that he has answered all questions to their satisfaction, they have said that he has been cooperative, they have said that they are comfortable with his answers, there is no question to test. There is nothing that a lie detector could test. He has not been inconsistent to the police and he has answered their questions.

So let me reiterate, that if the police get back to me say, you know what, even though we think as you think, lie detectors don't really work very well, if they find that useful at some point, I will listen to them, and we will respond accordingly. But let me say today that the congressman is going to make available what the police ask for that they think is helpful. And if it is a search of his apartment, if it is something as somebody said, a sample, if it is anything else, let it come.

But also, let the police get back to their job, go take your cameras and your pads and your pencils and try to see if there is somebody else out there who might have some information that could actually find this woman, as opposed to prying into the private lives of the Condits once and for all.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

LOWELL: I have today written a letter -- and I'm sure this won't be of as interest to you as some of the other things I had to say today. But today, I have written a letter to the heads of the news organizations around the country, have asked them to stop staking out the Condit family home, his apartment, the homes of his children, and let them start living their lives again. If the congressman wants to make a statement to you directly, I can assure you we know where to find you.

QUESTION: Why wouldn't the congressman allow access to his apartment, access to telephone records, access to his apartment? Why are you announcing that? Why...

LOWELL: Why wouldn't he allow it?

QUESTION: No, why...

(CROSSTALK)

... nine weeks ago.

LOWELL: It has never -- it has never come up before, and more importantly, I'll tell you something better than that. Not only has he allowed access to his apartment, some of you might know -- maybe some of you don't know -- that on the very first time he spoke to the police he, the congressman, invited the police -- where? To his apartment. It happened in May. They sat right there.

This has not been anything but the congressman's attempt to be open. When you asked me, "Why hasn't he allowed it?" the better question is what have people asked him do and whether he has responded. And let me assure you he has.

Two more questions.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Are you saying the police haven't asked -- are you saying the police haven't asked -- sir, are you saying the police haven't...

LOWELL: I am saying the police have never asked for a search of his apartment or for the records, and I am telling you that if they find that useful, we will provide them that information. QUESTION: Mr. Lowell...

LOWELL: One more question. In the back. Somebody in the back.

QUESTION: Have you ever let your client...

LOWELL: Anybody in the back.

QUESTION: Have you ever let your client -- have any of your clients ever taken a polygraph before?

LOWELL: Have I ever let any of my -- what I have done with my other clients is not only not relevant, it would be a breach of my ethical duty to tell you that.

All right, one other question please, and make...

QUESTION: Will Gary Condit be making a statement any time soon?

LOWELL: I'm sorry.

QUESTION: Will Gary Condit be making a statement any time soon?

LOWELL: I doubt that the congressman is going to make a statement to you in this milieu. I think that at an appropriate time the congressman will make a statement. But it's not going to happen on your schedule. It will happen on his. Thank you very much.

HARRIS: And we were listening to Abbe Loyal (sic) -- Lowell, rather, the lawyer who is representing Congressman Gary Condit in this case of the missing intern, Chandra Levy. And Mr. Lowell there being quite -- taking the press to task here quite a bit for the amount of scrutiny that the press has focused on Congressman Condit.

He is saying that the congressman -- his priority is to cooperate with the police and not with the press. He says he has cooperated with police by providing them full access to his apartment, access to his staff, his phone records, whatever else the police have asked for.

And in the matter of whether or not the congressman will discuss or even talk about the idea of taking a lie detector test, he says that that's something they will talk about. He was not 100 percent on whether or not that is something that would actually happen. He did say that also if a DNA sample was requested, that also is something that Congressman Condit would talk about with police (UNINTELLIGIBLE) cooperation of doing so.

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