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Judge Sentences Robert Downey Jr.; Police Expand Search for Chandra Levy

Aired July 16, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, pressure escalates on Gary Condit with a top senator calling on him to resign and the desperate search for Chandra Levy expands. But after 11 weeks, has this trail gone cold?

Joining us to discuss evidence and investigative theories, one of the top forensic scientists, Dr. Henry Lee will be with us in a while.

Also, a 25-year veteran of the FBI, former supervisor of its behavioral science unit, Clint Van Zandt.

And former prosecutor Nancy Grace now with "Court TV."

And then in Modesto, California, a woman who has become close to Chandra Levy's parents through her work with families of missing people, Kim Petersen.

Plus, pointed opinions from a compelling case from a former federal prosecutor and best-selling author Barbara Olson. Syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, a former criminal defense attorney herself. Former federal prosecutor and former independent counsel Michael Zeldin and former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne.

But first, a plea deal sends actor Robert Downey Jr. to rehab, not back to prison. We have an exclusive interview with one of the men who was by Downey's side in today in court, attorney Ross Nabatoff. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with Ross Nabatoff,attorney for Robert Downey Jr. Was this the best you could have hoped for today?


KING: You got what you wanted.

NABATOFF: Yes. We feel that prison would serve no purpose, and treatment is the only way. And that's what we got.

KING: And did you work that with the prosecutors before the judge had to make a decision?

NABATOFF: His previous lawyers actually started this process and we just cleaned up at the end. KING: Why is switching lawyers?

NABATOFF: You'd really have to ask Robert that. I was not privy to his choice of lawyers. I represented Robert. I was brought on the case while he was in prison and helped on the appeal, and I've gone through the whole process with him.

KING: What's he like as a client?

NABATOFF: He is a fine client. He's a great guy. That's the best way I can say anything about him. He is a great guy.

KING: What are the conditions now of this probation?

NABATOFF: Well, he has three years of that, but prior to that has to be in a live-in treatment program for one year. And so he has to stay in that treatment plan for one year, and then after that, he's on three years. And one of the terms, and it's important to all of us, is that he has to find work. Work is very important, I think.

KING: In other words, they want him to work.

NABATOFF: Yes, they do.

KING: And his job is an actor.


KING: So they want him to do films, television series.

NABATOFF: Right. And when he is allowed to work will hinge on the people who are in charge of him, the people who are in the treatment program, the probation officers, those types of people will say, OK, now, Robert, it's time for you to go out and find work.

KING: So in other words, a movie company would come with a contract -- and he would be in great demand, because he's so talented -- they would say to him, we'd like you to do this. He has to -- if he wants to do it, has to first get the approval of the live-in people.

NABATOFF: Yes. First the treatment people have to say yes, then the probation people have to say yes.

KING: Now, I understand the former attorney is questioning the effectiveness of this drug program.


KING: How do you respond to that?

NABATOFF: Well, I think you'll have to look at the source of that. It is his former attorney, and I personally have full confidence in the program. The person who is living at the place with him is a drug counselor. She is totally fine with this type of work and I think the former attorney... KING: Sour grapes?

NABATOFF: Sour grapes is the concise way to say it, yes.

KING: Because it certainly doesn't help his former client to say that this program doesn't work.

NABATOFF: I think it's highly inappropriate for him to have said those things, personally.

KING: Now, one felony cocaine possession charged and one misdemeanor under influence of controlled, stemming from Thanksgiving. That was what he was facing, and also a second felony count of a Valium. That was dropped, right?

NABATOFF: Right. That's correct.

KING: So he is now -- what? He is on probation, convicted of a crime?

NABATOFF: He pled no contest to the crime. He is still on parole from his previous, so he has parole, he has probation and has to be in his live-in treatment program.

KING: And is it known where that program is?

NABATOFF: It's not well-known, but yes.

KING: I mean, do you worry about the press being -- trying to be outside the grounds? You know the way tabloids are.

NABATOFF: Yes, I am, because he is a media magnet and I think that's one of the problems. If he could just stay alone and try and work through this process, I think it will end up fine.

KING: Have you defended clients who are addicts?

NABATOFF: No, actually this was my first client.

KING: What is the problem -- you know, a lot of people say here is all this talent, an incredible guy. You can't know Robert Downey Jr. and not like him.

NABATOFF: That is right.

KING: Right? How do you explain it? What keeps bringing him back to this substance abuse?

NABATOFF: I think -- I am not a treatment person. I'm a lawyer, so I can't answer that question really, except to say that he has an illness. A lot of people in this country have an illness. It can't be cured by going to the store and having an aspirin. It takes a long time. Relapses are common with this type of illness, and I think anyone with this illness, I think you have to look in their childhood and see what happened then. Because it just does not happen quickly.

KING: Is jail ineffective?

NABATOFF: In my personal opinion, jail serves no purpose for a drug user who is really not a threat to anyone else. More importantly, we're -- in this country, funds are really at issue. People have to make a choice. Do we send violent criminals to jail or do we send everyone to jail, including drug addicts?

KING: What was his mood today?

NABATOFF: He was fine. He's always fine. He was happy with the result. He wants to get on with his life. He wants to get through this, this illness, which is taking a long time. He thinks he can, I think he can and all of his friends think he can.

KING: He is in the center now?

NABATOFF: Yes, he's in the live-in treatment now.

KING: And if something were to happen, the live-in treatment center would report that to the judge, right, or to the authorities, right?


KING: They're responsible for taking care of him, and his responsibility is to stay there.

NABATOFF: Right, and he can't leave that treatment center without an escort. He gets drug tested at all times, sometimes four or five times a week. Even more sometimes. He can be tested by parole. He can be tested by probation. So -- and also by the treatment center.

KING: Do you know what happens if he needs it? Do you know what the center does?

NABATOFF: I think...

KING: On those days when the patient -- if that's what we call them -- a patient is in dire need of this -- drug?

NABATOFF: I can only speculate. I believe that these treatment centers -- this one and probably all the others -- try and provide a way for when that need or craving comes, he has an outlet for it that's not the drug itself. Whether it's exercise, whether it's yoga. It just has to be something there.

KING: Can you keep in constant touch with him at the center?

NABATOFF: I can reach him almost any time I want, yes.

KING: Thank you very much, Ross.

NABATOFF: Thank you.

KING: And you're based in Washington, right? NABATOFF: Yes, I am.

KING: Ross Nabatoff, attorney for Robert Downey Jr. Again, three years' probation, no contest plea, we have under Proposition 36 approved last November.

The Gary Condit matter is next. Don't go away.


KING: Now the matter that's gone to the attention of everyone, the Condit matter and the missing Miss Levy. Joining us in Washington, D.C. is Clint Van Zandt, 25-year veteran of the FBI. retired in '95, former supervisor of their behavioral science unit and formerly their chief hostage negotiator. In New York is Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor and host of "Trial Heat" on Court TV. And we'll be joined momentarily in New Haven by one of the country's top forensic scientists, Dr. Henry Lee.

All right. Lee there is now. Dr. Lee, do you hear me all right?


KING: All right, thank you for being with us.

Let's start with Clint Van Zandt. What -- from what you know, what you've read, what you've heard, piecing it all together, where are we at now?

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, we are almost back at ground zero, Larry. The police have done everything they feel they can do at one time, now they are going back and retracing some steps.

What's kind of interesting is the information they are coming up with from her laptop. Obviously, this has been available for the past 76 days or so. But now they have to retrace it.

The challenge right now is what would require this young woman who is street savvy, who is a former law enforcement explorer scout, who has dated a police officer in her life, who knows her way around D.C., to make a decision to step out of her apartment, without the things that a woman normally carries: her purse, her ID, money, credit cards, and most importantly, a cell phone.

This is what bothers me about this, Larry, if she has a boyfriend, and her contact with that boyfriend or with anyone else is the cell phone, why would she separate herself from that media of communication?

KING: What though, Clint, if she was simply working out, doing a run?

VAN ZANDT: Well, one of the things she did, Larry, was, she was so conscious about the dangers of being in the streets that she joined a health club so she wouldn't have to run on the streets. (CROSSTALK)


KING: She had quit that club.

VAN ZANDT: The night before, and now she is getting packed ready to go, her...

KING: You don't think she was working out?

VAN ZANDT: Not by herself.

NANCY GRACE, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I agree, why would she seek out a brand new course, Larry? That is not a jogger's mentality. This woman worked out all the time, I agree with Cliff. She would go in a route she already new, instead of the day before leaving town, go on Mapquest to find a new place to jog. It doesn't make sense!


VAN ZANDT: One of the things that is missing, too, Larry, is not only her keys, but her ATM card, and that is another thing: why would she take of nothing else only the ATM card if she took that of her volition? Did she need money?

KING: Nancy, as a former prosecutor and someone who is certainly up front with her opinions, are we -- do we have shoddy police work?

GRACE: Well, I think that at the get-go, the police were let me say tippy toeing around Congressman Condit, anybody else would have endured intense questioning at the get-go, possibly even been summoned to a Grand Jury, enforced to take the Fifth Amendment if they wanted to.

I agree with Cliff in part and disagree. I think that we are still at ground zero as to where is Chandra Levy? But we know a lot more about her. For instance, she didn't jog outside. We know she met Condit at his request, in very unusual circumstances, such as taking a cab, and then he would join her later in order to secure his anonymity.

I think the more we learn about her, the closer we are to figuring out the conundrum of, why she left that apartment? Just as she's heading out to graduate with nothing but keys? I challenge you, Larry King, to ask every lady on your panel tonight, how often do you leave your home -- your apartment with no ID, no credit card, no -- nothing but your keys? Very rare...

KING: Don't have to challenge me, Nancy. I'll do it!

GRACE: She was headed out to meet somebody she knows.

KING: I will ask that question: Dr. Lee, from a forensic standpoint, this massive search -- what's your read? LEE: Well, you know, only two possibility, one, she is still alive, or she is dead. If she is still alive, could be either kidnapped or -- walk on her own will.

If she is dead, could be five different manner of the -- accidental, nature, suicidal, or homicide, or undetermined. So let the facts speak for itself, and, once in a while, we do have people go jogging just bring a key, or walk, bring a key.

But I have to agree with Nancy and Craig, in this situation it is kind of unique. We have to look at the fact and the pieces of physical evidence, try to put together, go back to a logic process. So -- logic process to examine.

KING: Dr. Lee, the police are not making any announcements but would a thorough search of her apartment -- a thorough search of the congressman's apartment -- anything they've got out of there, they are looking at already, right?

LEE: You are right absolutely right. Like last week we search apartment for some missing person, basically, you look for silent clue, any sign of foul play: any extensive cleaning of carpet, rearrangement of the furniture.

For example, last year we have New York state police investigate disappearing case with five little drop of blood splatter, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) impact splatter, barely see on with naked eye, was able to put the case together.

KING: Hold it one second. We'll be right back -- right back with Clint Van Zandt, Nancy Grace, and Dr. Henry Lee, right after this.



CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: The only thing missing pretty much was her keys, we don't know if she had money on her person at the time, she could have gone to a nearby store, she could have just decided to go downstairs, we just don't know. So I wouldn't read too much into that sort of thing. Although, obviously, we want to explore all possibilities.


KING: All right, Clint Van Zandt, formerly of the FBI. From an investigative standpoint, do you consider the congressman a suspect?

VAN ZANDT: Yes, I do.

KING: You do.

VAN ZANDT: Yeah, and the reason, you know, part of the reason is, if you call the congressman a suspect, if I was an FBI agent and I refer to him as a suspect, there is going to come a point where I have to start advising him of his rights.

Now, you can get into definitions, Larry, you can say, well, what's he a suspect of? There is no crime that has actually been committed? So how can we call him a suspect? At very best, he is a strong suspect in having withheld information that might lead to the recovery of this young woman. So at the very least, he is suspect of that.

KING: And what is he to you, Nancy, as a former prosecutor?

GRACE: Well, in my mind, in my bit of mind, everybody that knew her had anything to do with Chandra Levy is a suspect, Larry.

And another thing, when you are in a position like this, where you basically -- you can't use the expertise of someone like Mr. Lee, world renowned in forensics, you don't have a body, you don't have anything to go on -- you fall back on human nature. The logic. The natures of these two people.

I don't think Chandra Levy went for a walk and never came back. She was not used to living on her own without any credit card, no debit card, not even a call home for help. This woman didn't choose to disappear. If it had been a suicide, a love suicide, you would have had a note, some type of evidence a suicide was coming. No depression in the past, no medication.

All that is left, Larry, is foul play. And I wonder, what was the big announcement she had to make? The word "announcement" normally goes along with a new boyfriend, a pregnancy, a wedding, an engagement. I would like to ask Condit on his police lie detector test, if that ever happens, if he knew about that announcement she had to make.

KING: The fact that he is not speaking at all, Dr. Lee -- do you count that significant? Not speaking to anyone except the authorities?

LEE: Yeah, it's pretty important significance. Of course, as a scientist, we don't really have the legal authority to call somebody a suspect. But I do think...

KING: He is...

LEE: He is a material witness.

KING: Ah. Clint, do you -- do you -- with a case like this, we may go on for days and months, right?

VAN ZANDT: Oh, we really can, Larry. I mean, the whole investigation of course is centered trying to find the victim, whether she's a victim of herself, a victim of a random street crime. But you know, I agree: If we rule out suicide, saying that, you know, we would have found her body, as the chief says -- in D.C., it's hard to bury yourself -- and if it was an emotional suicide, she would have left a note, she would have wanted someone to suffer as she had suffered, too. So it puts us in the category -- as a parent of three adult children, I guess, I would hope that it if it was my child, she was out there somewhere still alive. Otherwise, we have to look at foul play. Who is the closest person to her? We look at that individual first and then we move out from there. We do everything once and then we come back and do it a second time.

I think what you're seeing the police get to right now is what might be considered for some a cold trail, for others, making sure that you've done everything investigatively correct as well as politically correct at this point.

KING: Nancy, you have to have eventually the person, though, right? You don't have a crime until you have the person.

GRACE: Eventually. No crime can be named until they have evidence: not necessarily the body, but some evidence of wrongdoing. And another thing, Larry, when you're looking at human nature, I'd like to take a hard look at Condit, a man that could look at police and his own staff, knowing this girl's life could hang in the balance, and chose to lie. And you don't want to tell me he didn't arrange those questions on his polygraph or at least rehearse them? I don't buy it.

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling on you again. Dr. Henry Lee, Clint Van Zandt and Nancy Grace. When we come back, our panel will be with us, but first, we're going to talk with Kim Petersen of the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation. She's close to the Levy family. She's got her thoughts. Then our panel. Don't go away.


ROBERT LEVY, CHANDRA LEVY'S FATHER: Well, it's good to, you know, to be away for a while. Of course, it's still on our minds. You know, we always think about Chandra, so it's hard to really enjoy things like we would otherwise. But just been thinking about this for 11 weeks and have to -- have to get away for a little while. You know, try to have a little -- some good time.



KING: We have a panel joining us to discuss this. They are all in Washington: Barbara Olson, a former federal prosecutor and best- selling author of "Hell to Pay"; Laura Ingraham, the former criminal defense attorney and Westwood One syndicated radio talk-show host; Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, former independent counsel; and Cynthia Alksne, a former federal prosecutor herself.

Before we talk with the panel, we're going to spend some moments with Kim Petersen. Kim is in Modesto, California. She's executive director of the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation. That foundation does what?

KIM PETERSEN, CAROLE SUND/CARRINGTON FOUNDATION: Well, generally, what we do is we post reward for families who have missing or murdered family members and don't have the resources to post the reward. But in the levy case, the family obviously had those resources, and one of the other services we provide is support services and media liaison services.

KING: What are you doing in Modesto?

PETERSEN: Well, this is where our foundation is headquartered. We were started in memory of the three women murdered outside of Yosemite two years ago, and we are providing some support to the Levy family. I spent time with them pretty much on a daily basis, just giving them encouragement, giving them some direction on organizations or people that can be of help. And sometimes it's just sitting and listening to them.

KING: If there were no Condit link here, this would be a forgotten case, wouldn't it?

PETERSEN: It would be treated as other cases are across the country. One of the unique things about this case is without the Condit issue is that she is missing from the opposite side of the country of where her family lives. In most missing persons cases, if you contact local media, that's sufficient, because they're generally missing from their own area. However, Chandra being missing from D.C. with her family here in California, local publicity would not have done it. We knew that national publicity was going to be critical.

KING: When did you most recently see the Levys?

PETERSEN: Oh, probably about 15 minutes ago, before -- right before we came on here. We are outside their home, and I spent some time with them. I also spent time with them this afternoon.

KING: How are they doing? You know, how -- as days lead into weeks, weeks into months, how are they doing?

PETERSEN: Well, when I walked in this afternoon a couple of hours ago and asked them that exact question, "How are you doing?" they said: "Terrible. How else could we be, Kim?" And that's so true of any family in their circumstance.

It's been 11 very long and horrible weeks for them, not hearing anything from their daughter and not knowing where she is. It's a parent's nightmare. It's hell.

KING: And Kim, do rewards generally pay off?

PETERSEN: It depends on the case. Each case is different. But we hope that the reward can be incentive to somebody. We know that sometimes people may be taking a risk by telling everything they know in cases. And we just hope it's a little extra encouragement.

Our foundation also works with homicide victims, and we've assisted in getting seven murder suspects in custody as well as two child molesters and have helped bring missing people home. So we know it does work. KING: I congratulate you. Thank you, Kim, and give our best to the Levys.

PETERSEN: Thank you.

KING: Kim Petersen. Now let's bring in the panel momentarily and then we'll swing into a full half hour with them. Barbara Olson, I asked it of others: Do you agree -- well, Nancy Grace said to ask it of all the women. Would you go jogging with nothing?

BARBARA OLSON, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Certainly not in that area, I wouldn't. I think that's why Chandra did belong to a gym. And it's odd that she had her key and nothing else with her packed.

Now, maybe you say she's a runner, she quit her gym, but she was packed and ready to go. We know she's been on the Internet that morning at least until 12:30 or 1:00 in the afternoon. Good jogging time? Not in D.C. It doesn't seem to add up.

KING: Laura, do you -- would you?

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK-SHOW HOST: I do. I would and I do. I mean, it's hard to say. I mean, I thought the police -- at least we heard from various reports that the police found her sneakers in the apartment. So if that's the case, she probably didn't go running unless she went to buy some new sneakers. But I run without -- you know, with a Walkman. I mean, I don't know if she had a Walkman with her or not. But I don't think that's all that unusual, even on a hot Washington day.

KING: Cynthia?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Not a chance. Wouldn't go out without my cell phone, not anywhere, and especially if I just had problems with my boyfriend and if I was hoping desperately that he would call me, I wouldn't go out without my cell phone. That just doesn't -- just doesn't ring true to me.

KING: Michael, as a former...

ALKSNE: Unless, of course, I was going out with him.

KING: Ah. As a former prosecutor -- I asked this of the others; we've got to move quickly here -- is he a suspect, in your mind?


KING: Not talking legal.

ZELDIN: Right. Not in the legal sense. I agree with the representation of him as a material witness. He's got a lot of information. I don't know that we've gotten all the information from him that we would want to get from him, and so yeah, he's material because he had the closest relationship to her of anyone we know in the District of Columbia. KING: This is quite a mystery and we'll get all the panel's thoughts as we delve into it right after the break. I'm Larry King. And don't forget it's time to log on to my King's quiz, And we'll be right back.


KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE.

Laura, the contention, Jonathan Alter in "Newsweek" said that this is a -- that the media is like crack cocaine on this. Is this Monica plus O.J.? Is it too much?

INGRAHAM: Well, you know, we always seem to get to this point in all stories. We got there with O.J. We got there with Monica, where we start, you know, re-examining our role, and I think that's healthy. The question is, you know, is this a story worth covering? "CBS Evening News" decided it's not. It hasn't covered it once in one evening broadcast. I mean, I think that's a bit excessive.

Are there other things going on in the news, Larry? Yeah, I mean, I've got to tell you, a couple of points during the day today I was thinking, "Is there anything new to say about this case?"

But you know, the problem is, is when you have a congressman who's held back details for whatever reason from the very beginning, you begin to perceive him as a suspect. So suspense builds, the mystery builds, the woman's body has not been found, if she has been killed. And until that body is found, until she turns up, I think this case is going to continue to be a legitimate area of focus and I think it's legitimate for us to talk about it: not to the exclusion of everything else, but it's legitimate.

KING: Michael Zeldin, does it help also in the search?

ZELDIN: Maybe, because there is a tension on it. Whenever there's a spotlight on something, that's good for something that you're looking for. So in that sense, yes.

In a broader sense of is this legitimate, I think that you hope it becomes legitimate in the sense that it'll bring more attention to the fact that police don't tend to investigate missing persons. And we hope that they would now in light of this, when you see the pain that the Levys are going through. You'd hope that now police in light of this thing will spend more time with missing persons types of cases, not force you to weight the mandatory 30 days before they do anything for you.

So, yeah, I think it's got validity, well beyond Chandra Levy herself.

KING: And as a prosecutor, Cynthia, wouldn't you like it to have the media focused on something that you're investigating or looking at?

ALKSNE: Sure. I mean, as a general rule in Washington, D.C., a missing person's case does not have 50 young recruits walking in Rock Creek Park trying to help somebody. And we're not talking about whether or not maybe we'll spend the $3 million to check the landfills or not.

This -- the media attention in this case is the only reason why there's any hope of finding this girl. The media attention in this case is the only reason why Congressman Condit finally had to give it up and tell the truth, or at least part of it, because I don't believe he's being totally truthful yet.

And so the media has played an important role, and I'm sure that the United States attorney's office working with the police are pretty darn happy about it.

KING: Barbara Olson, why do you think he's not doing any media?

OLSON: Well...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but as a congressman, he's a natural kind of person to want to go out. Obviously, he could appear and make some defense: I cared for her, I was caught in a trap, I didn't know what to do about it. Come on, you can do something. Why nothing?

OLSON: Every time I think he's going to he does something absolutely unbelievable, like we heard about today when they asked him: His last meeting with her at his apartment on April 24th, were they intimate? And he doesn't remember. Maybe that's why he's not going out, because he doesn't have his story straight. You can't keep a straight face when you hear that. And he keeps making these statements.

So maybe his lawyer is figuring that this guy can't get a story that we wouldn't laugh at.

KING: All right. And does that, therefore, make him, as Laura said, does it make him a, if not a -- does it make him a suspect, in your eyes?

OLSON: I think he's absolutely a suspect, not legally. But how many people have their apartments "luminoled"? I mean, you know, this is a guy who saw her.

And you know, we were talking earlier about maybe she went out running. Gary Condit could be really helpful with knowing, you know, what kind of clothing did she have there. Did she have any at the apartment? Did she ever run before she joined the gym? Had she ever gone to Rock Creek Park with you?

These kinds of things -- Gary Condit is someone who, as he admitted, at least that we've heard, talked to her every day, could give some really helpful clues if he wanted to be extremely helpful rather than, as his lawyer said, he's telling her everything they need to know. That's all we've got not to Gary Condit. So, sure, we're curious. We want this man to give real information to the police. And frankly, as a member of Congress and representing people, he needs to give real information to the people of Modesto. He needs to give real information to the Levys.

KING: Laura, why do you think he's not doing anything aside -- I mean, he met with the police twice, three times.

INGRAHAM: Well, I think from the very beginning, Larry, it's been pretty obvious that Gary Condit wanted to avoid talking about this, if at all, you know, if there was any possibility of doing that. And Cynthia, you know, said earlier what we said last week, was that, you know, if it weren't for the press focus on this, he never would have pulled himself into that third meeting with authorities. Absolutely not.

I would -- you know, whatever small savings I have after the stock market crash I would put on that. But the point is every time his team, as we want to call it, comes forward with something, they seem to get him in more trouble. I mean, Abbe Lowell makes about 475 an hour last time I checked. Well, this half a polygraph thing was a disaster. It ticked off everyone on the D.C. police force.

Now, they really seem to, if not say he's a suspect, certainly consider him a suspect implicitly here, and they are really angry. His lawyer and his so-called "PR" expert have gotten him into terrible trouble, as of course has he.

KING: We'll see -- we'll get Michael Zeldin's...

ZELDIN: I think he actually got himself in trouble.

KING: All right, hold it, Michael. We'll get Michael's response to that. We'll also include your phone calls with our panel. Don't go away.


ABBE LOWELL, GARY CONDIT'S ATTORNEY: The more time you spend on Congressman Condit, his family, his life, and his past, the more you are diverting attention and resources to the one thing that really matters here: finding Chandra Levy. Those people who honestly are concerned about the disappearance of Ms. Levy will now realize that Congressman Condit has exhausted the information that he can provide and that the spotlight on him should be turned elsewhere.




SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: I think that my statement speaks for itself. I think that if -- if, if, if the facts are as they appear, they may be, then he should consider resigning.


KING: Senator Trent Lott. Michael Zeldin, you were saying that you think the Congressman is his own worst enemy? ZELDIN: Sure. And I think Abbe Lowell inherited a terrible situation, which is to say that his client already started the process of lying dissembling when Abbe took over. So it's awfully difficult to dig your client out from the hole that he's dug for himself. And if you look at it from the lawyer's standpoint, where everyone has called his client a suspect, then normally you don't take your client as suspect and have a press conference with them, or hold them in public. If he's client as congressman, trying to save his political career, then it calls for a different media strategy. So Abbe is really trying to delicately balance the role of representing someone who people believe may be indicted for something.

INGRAHAM: But probably what you don't do, however, Larry, in this strategy, is then go after the press. I mean, going after the press is about the worst thing you could do, to say well, the press has to back off, the press has to focus on other suspects. I mean -- what other people were close to Chandra Levy? They have interviewed them, and Abbe Lowell looks like a typical lawyer who's trying to evade responsibility on his client's behalf. That's what he appears, and he's a great lawyer, so...

KING: And Cynthia, is it giving the perception of something wrong?

ALKSNE: Oh, sure. I mean, the sanctimonious breast feeding about, we're doing everything, when a first-year law student can cross-examine Lowell and realize he's not doing everything, he's not even close to doing everything. He hasn't released the charts, he hasn't set this polygrapher up to be debriefed by the United States' attorneys office. He hasn't told us whether he took other polygraphs, whether or not he flunked those with other polygraphers or with this guy, Barry. He still isn't coming clean on this last meeting they had...

I mean, there's 100 things he hasn't done and to sanctimoniously stand there as if somehow we're all idiots for questioning his veracity is not helpful on any level.

KING: Let me get a call in New York City, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Hi, Larry. The question that I have for the lawyers on the panel are what are the legal possibilities that Gary Condit might have if, in fact -- the Levy family clearly is saying that they think Gary Condit had something to do with this. If in fact he didn't have anything to do with it and we do find that out, does he have the possibility to perhaps sue the Levy family?

KING: Is that a stretch, Laura, or does he have? Has he been maligned if he nothing to do with this?

INGRAHAM: No, I think actually the Levy family has been surprisingly sedate in their response to this. If this were my daughter, I think I would have brought a sleeping bag and slept out front of his apartment building until he actually started answering some questions. I think they're very upset, their lawyer is very upset. They said Gary Condit hasn't been forthcoming. Well, you know what? Gary Condit hasn't been forthcoming. You can't sue on those grounds.

ALKSNE: You can always file the $25. Anybody can sue in this country.

KING: You can sue. Anybody can sue anyone.

ALKSNE: You just can't win.

KING: Redlands, California, hello.

CALLER: Does your panel not think it's strange that nothing has been said about Gary Condit and automobiles? I realize he's taken back and forth to Congress probably in a U.S. car, but what about the possibility of rental cars and any blood or anything else being in something like that?

KING: Do we know anything in that regard, who wants to take it?

ZELDIN: Well, we know that he does not own an automobile. We know that he borrowed staff cars from meeting people on his staff when needed a car. We know that those cars have been searched forensically, so I think your caller's question is answered by saying that the police are doing that exact type of forensic examination.

KING: How do you think the police are doing, Barbara?

OLSON: You know, it's hard to tell because today, when they were searching Rock Creek Park and you found out -- the information is coming out so slow. We found out today about her e-mails, about her checking on Rock Creek Park on the day she disappeared, and the police finally search it. You just hope that in the first 48 hours they really searched it well, because that's a great clue if you have no other information. Our real problem is it's heard to second-guess the police because they aren't telling us everything. Information is coming out bit by bit.

And when we were talking earlier about what Condit should do, because information's coming out bit by bit, if he's worried politically, he might as well put it out, because the Levy family wants this to stay forward. They want someone to find their daughter, so if he wants this information out, he should put it out rather than staying silent.

And of course, Abbe Lowell has lost all his credibility with the police. They've been saying today, you know, Abbe Lowell lied to the police, said that Gary Condit was too busy to take a lie detector test because he was doing his Congressional duties. Come to find out, that was a lie. He was taking his own lie detector test. So the whole thing is going down the tubes and I really think that he's got to either make a full statement, because we're going to learn something tomorrow. We've have something almost every day that's come out. He might as well tell the story, tell his version and then we would know how the police are doing.

ZELDIN: The problem is that he can't win now. It's too late for him to hold this press conference. If he had held it much earlier in the process as a crisis communication matter, he may have been able to put aside all the lingering questions about him. But at this point, if he held a press conference tomorrow, do you think we would all go away and say fine, we've heard from him? We're all satisfied? It would just generate more interest in him. People would start picking apart his story. And I think at this point he's got to say, I have no advantage to talking.

OLSON: There's still a missing person and at least we would feel he has some humanity. At least we would feel like, OK, he did this, he was wrong. Bill Clinton did this. I tried to cover it up, it was really embarrassing. I thought this would go away because I really though she would reappear. It's clear now that it's not likely she's going to reappear, and I'm going to tell everything I know. Chandra Levy owned one pair of tennis shoes. She no clothes at my place. She wasn't running.

KING: I have to get a break. We'll come right back. Don't go away.


REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gary Condit should not resign. Now, if there is more that comes out in the future then, obviously, that's always an option. And obviously, if he's done anything illegal, the ethics committee needs to look at it. But to suggest that his romantic relationship with anyone is grounds for his resignation, I think is an absurdity.



KING: We are back. Last week, "The Hill"newspaper reported police sources were saying Gary Condit had told Chandra Levy not to carry i.d. with her when they were together. Levy family attorney Billy Martin was asked about it this weekend on NBC's "Meet the Press."


BILLY MARTIN, LEVY FAMILY ATTORNEY: The family does know that Chandra instructed friends and family that when she met with her secret lover and her friend, that that was the procedure used.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The fact that she left her apartment with her i.d. behind must raise a lot of questions in the Levy family mind.

MARTIN: It's consistent with what we believe to be the procedure she used when she would visit him.

KING: Virginia Beach, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Hey, Larry, how are you doing?


CALLER: My question is for the panel. If they can impeach federal judges and impeach the president, can they impeach the congressman?

KING: What's the procedure, Laura?

INGRAHAM: Well, he has to have lied under oath. They can't impeach him for sort of general misconduct, I think, in Congress. But I think you need a little bit more than you have right now. I mean, certainly you have the rumblings of people saying he should resign. I haven't heard anyone, even Bob Barr, call for his impeachment yet. So I don't think that's quite yet on the horizon. I think we have to deal with an under oath situation, something a little bit more concrete.

ZELDIN: Impeachment is an abuse of office. We learned that in the Clinton process...

INGRAHAM: No, I think practically speaking, Michael.

ZELDIN: I'm saying if he abuses his office, as you guys said before. This is an older man having sex with an intern, taking advantage of his political position, then it could rise to the level of abuse of office. I don't think it does, but it could.

INGRAHAM: You were saying that for how long, that it wasn't an impeachable offense, I mean, that was your whole argument during Clinton-Lewinsky, and now you're...

ZELDIN: I understand that, but he's asking whether it's impeachable, and it probably could be, if it's abuse of office situation.

KING: Waukesha, Wisconsin, hello.

CALLER: Hi, my question is, if Gary Condit hired somebody to maybe do something bad to Chandra Levy and have her disappear, couldn't he answer those polygraph questions?

KING: Would that be a polygraph question -- Cynthia, would that be a polygraph question you would include, "did you hire somebody to harm her?"

ALKSNE: Absolutely. One of the important things about polygraphs and why the prosecutors want to debrief this polygrapher and want so much to actually have been in the room when the questions were asked, or at least defined, is that the questions are defined, you have three relevant important questions in most polygraphs. Usually one of them is, by the way, "are you hiding anything," and that question wasn't asked here, because this guy could never pass that question.

(LAUGHTER) ALKSNE: So you have the other three relevant questions, and the definition time is very important in order to determine if the polygraph is valid and if result should be tested. So here when you say, you have to -- the polygrapher would have to say, "when I say: Did you cause her disappearance, I mean," -- you know, was it a friend of yours caused her disappearance, did you kill her, did you ask someone to do something -- and you have to go through a whole litany. And nobody really knows. That could be tested but we don't know here.

KING: Let me get a break and we'll come back with some more thoughts. Time flees. Don't go away.


SUSAN LEVY, CHANDRA LEVY'S MOTHER: She wouldn't give us a time exactly when she was coming home, as far as airplane time, and that I found kind of bothersome to me, because I would think she would tell me exactly when and what time she was coming home, like what reservation and what plane she's going to come in.



KING: You can now log on to my Web site at For the answer to "King's Quiz." In our remaining moments, Michael Zeldin, can the congressman wait this one out?

ZELDIN: I think he's going to try to wait this out, and if there's no further evidence implicating him or connecting him in ways that we don't already know, I think he will be able to wait this. And hopefully Chandra Levy will come home with an amazing story to tell. I hope that she's not found someplace in Rock Creek Park.

KING: Cynthia, if she's never, could this be the perfect -- one of those crimes that -- never found.

ALKSNE: It could happen, and in the District of Columbia, we have had cases like that. People go into the Potomac, frankly, which is a very treacherous river, and they don't come out. I mean, somebody sees them go into the Potomac and nobody ever finds them. So it won't surprise me if that's what happens.

KING: And Barbara, if the days continue on more into weeks, does it eventually not become a story anymore?

OLSON: Well, you know, once the police truly have nothing else to go on, I mean, we're still having the search of Gary Condit's apartment. We know that there are other people that knew her at the gym. If they truly have gotten all the information, they have nothing else to go on, there is no body, then it goes, unfortunately, like a lot of the other cases in D.C. that Cynthia was talking about that are unsolved. And hopefully, they sit there until someone has some break or some information.

But the best thing is all the publicity. Someone saw or heard something -- we just heard today a woman heard a scream in her apartment at 4:30 in the morning. These things are continually coming forward, so it's really encouraging.

KING: Laura, how would you bet? Do you think we're going to find something? Trust your intuition, here.

INGRAHAM: My intuition is always wrong. Larry, I have to say, I know we're not supposed to do this, but I have no idea. But I do think this fire will eventually extinguish itself out, because once the police get on a cold trail, once the last flight attendant has been interviewed on your show, once Abbe Lowell has no more attacks on the press, and frankly, once all these people have been interviewed for the second and third time, there really is nowhere else to go. And I know you like having us on the show and we like being here, but eventually, you know, this is -- unless the body is found, unless more information really comes out, unless Condit speaks, which I don't think he will, it will be over.

KING: So he can he ride it.

INGRAHAM: I think he will ride it and I think there's nothing in it for him legally, for him to speak out now. I think, politically, he's dead in the water.

OLSON: If he learned any lesson from the Bill Clinton fiasco is, if you're quiet and you ride it out, you might survive. I mean, unfortunately that is a legacy that we have that was successful. And it's really too bad that it was very successful.

ZELDIN: But it's different here.

OLSON: It's different because we have a missing person.

ZELDIN: Exactly. We have a potential...

KING: Michael, quickly.

ZELDIN: I was going to say, the difference between this and Bill Clinton is that here we have a missing person and you cannot ride that out as easily.

KING: We're out of time. Thank you Barbara, Laura, Michael and Cynthia. I'm Larry King. Stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT." See you tomorrow night. Good night.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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