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Authorities Get Anonymous Web Site Tip in Levy Case

Aired August 1, 2001 - 21:00   ET


ROGER COSSACK, GUEST HOST: Tonight, a tip in the Chandra Levy investigation, but will it lead anywhere? Attention focuses on a site in Virginia, and with more details from the WeTip Web site in Sacramento, national director Susan Aguilar. Also, joining us from Los Angeles, defense attorney Mark Geragos, and in New York, former prosecutor Nancy Grace, from San Diego, former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne, and in Washington, D.C., former chief minority counsel, House Judiciary Committee, Julian Epstein. And also in Washington, the reporter who's covering this story for "USA Today," Tom Squitieri. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Hi, I'm Roger Cossack, sitting in for Larry King, who's taking a few well-deserved days of vacation. Let's start off with the latest today.

Tom Squitieri, there's been a tip about the possibility of where Chandra Levy is. Tell us what's going on.

TOM SQUITIERI, "USA TODAY": Well, the federal police, the FBI and D.C. police received a tip that she was possibly buried on a military base, Fort Lee, south of Richmond, Virginia. They're checking out the tip now. They're not going to look for the body until tomorrow. They want to further investigate this anonymous tip.

This is one of hundreds of tips, and the police were really cautious today in telling us that it's just a tip and there's nothing concrete to suggest that Chandra Levy is there.

COSSACK: Tom, why are they acting on this tip? If they get hundreds of tips -- and I know that in any of these kinds of high- profile investigations, the police do get hundreds of tips. Why are they acting on this one?

SQUITIERI: Because there was a lot of specific details that went along with this tip: the exact location in a parking lot on a military base, the fact that it was under construction during a certain timeframe. Other details like that made it easier for the police to narrow it down and sort of pursue it much more quickly.

As one of the police officers said today, "It's a lot different than getting a call from somebody saying, 'I see her in a tank of dark water and you've got to try to find her."

COSSACK: And the tip was quite a long tip. It was quite a detailed tip. In fact, it even described how the body of Chandra Levy was wrapped in some kind of shrink-wrap paper. So the police felt that this was something that it was at least somewhat reliable. Is that correct?

SQUITIERI: It's reliable enough to pursue it. Exactly. As I said, they get hundreds of tips, as you have and I have and others do, and some of them are very vague. When you get this kind of detail, however, it's the fool who doesn't pay attention, at least try to check it out in some way.

COSSACK: All right, Susan Aguilar joins us. Susan, you're the head of the WeTip organization. Did -- this tip came in through WeTip. Tell us about it.

SUSAN AGUILAR, WETIP.COM: Well, the tip came in Sunday night, and it came into the WeTip national headquarters, where we have taken about 365,000 tips in our history.

This tip came in on Sunday night. It was immediately called in to the metro police, also to the metro task force, and also to the FBI. Copies of the tip were then faxed to each of those agencies, as are all of our tips that we receive. This tip was called in by an anonymous informant. All of our tips that come into the WeTip office are absolutely anonymous.

So we really have no information about who it came from. We simply are the go-between, law enforcement and the person who wants to turn in information, but wants to remain absolutely anonymous.

COSSACK: Susan, tell us a little bit about WeTip, the history of WeTip. I'm from California and I know a little bit about your organization, but it's set up so that, just as you said, so that people can call in and give these kinds of anonymous tips. And you are a focus -- a funneling point, if you will, for the police, isn't that true?

AGUILAR: Oh, that's very true. In fact, 30 years ago, when WeTip was founded, the founders knew that there had to be a way for people to give anonymous information without fearing reprisal from the persons that they were turning in. Sometimes the last thing that person wants to think will happen is that they're going to have to testify against that person that they're turning in. That's just too terrifying.

So WeTip was set up to create a safe and anonymous way for them to give their information. That's exactly the reason that we never have any taping, tracing, caller I.D. We never have any information about our informant. We simply want the information, and we send it all to law enforcement.

We never determine what's good and what's bad information. We send it all, and we let law enforcement do the investigation.

COSSACK: All right, joining us now is Kim Petersen, the executive director of the Carole Sund Foundation.

Kim, you spent some time today with the Levy family. Tell us their reaction to today's developments.

KIM PETERSEN, SUND/CARRINGTON FOUNDATION: Well, I spoke -- spent some time with Mrs. Levy, and was actually the one that told her about the tip. And any time information like this comes across, it's very difficult.

We try to keep the information to them on tips as minimally as possible. The ones that we do have to share with them are generally anything that could be out in the media that they may hear through the media, which is a very difficult way for a family to be informed.

So when something comes out like today, we try to get to them before they may see or hear it on television and wonder what's going on.

So it was difficult, but we also -- I also expressed to her that there's nothing confirmed yet. They're just following up on one of many leads that have come in, and we're not putting any higher emphasis on this particular lead than any other.

COSSACK: Kim, tell us about the Levy family and how they are holding up. We can only imagine how horrible this must be for a family to lose a child, to suddenly have a child disappear. And yet to have something like this happen, where in some ways it's the worst thing you can think of, but at least perhaps it gives you the hope for closure. How are they reacting to that?

PETERSEN: Well, it's been a very long three months for them, as you can imagine. Three months of not knowing where your child is, is every parent's worst nightmare. It's a living hell. And they continue to remain hopeful, although it does get more difficult day by day. And they know that there's a multitude of scenarios that are possible, and yet, they have to keep focused on the hope and deal with these stories and information as they come in.

It really sends families like this on a roller-coaster of emotion, and we try to prevent that as much as we possibly can.

COSSACK: And Kim, what do you do when you work with families like this? Do you have a program or do you have a plan? And is there one member of the family that usually is stronger than the other?

PETERSEN: It generally will vary by personality and by family dynamics, but I have seen that in most occasions, when one is weak, the other will step up and be strong at that time, and they kind of tend to go back and forth. Generally, they aren't both weak at the same time. That does happen at the most difficult of times.

But it kind of goes back at forth. At the beginning, Dr. Levy was having a more difficult time emotionally, and now he's gone back to work and is trying to get into some kind of routine. And now, it's starting to affect Mr. Levy, and she's having a very difficult time, because she's home each day and doesn't have a job to go to, to kind of put her mind elsewhere.

COSSACK: Are they -- are they still full of hope, Kim? Or are they, are they beginning to lose hope?

PETERSEN: They're absolutely still hopeful. They have to hold onto that hope as do all families that are experiencing the same pain. There are families all over the country that know exactly what the Levys are feeling, and unless there's evidence to the contrary, they hold onto that hope to just make it through each day.

COSSACK: All right. Let's take a break. When we come back, we'll have more with Kim Petersen, all of our guests, and the search for Chandra Levy.


COSSACK: While during the break, the Levys did leave their house. This is a picture of them leaving their home in Modesto. And these are live pictures, I've been told, of the Levys getting ready to leave. One can only imagine what they are going through.

Kim Petersen, how are the Levys reacting to all this media attention? Do they believe that it's in their benefit or have they had enough of it? How do they feel?

PETERSEN: They know that it's important to do keep Chandra's picture and Chandra's story out in front of the public. If this -- if and when this case is solved, it is most likely going to be solved by somebody who provides the information that law enforcement has been waiting for. And you don't want the public to lose interest or to forget about it, because they're living with this horror every day.

And yet, it's also very difficult on them. When you consider that they can't walk out the front door to pick up the newspaper or get their mail or go for a walk without being followed by media, that's a very difficult thing for a family who's not used to that and has never experienced anything like that. But they also it's necessary and they'll do whatever it takes to help bring Chandra home.

COSSACK: Nancy Grace, you know, you're a former federal prosecutor. You did high-profile cases. This is the kind of case in which you're never going to be along, the Levys are never going to be alone, because the media is going to always be on this case. Is this the kind of case that you think that the media does help, or are we seeing like what happened tonight? There's a tip. Did the police react because of the media? Do they feel they have to? What role does the media play?

NANCY GRACE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, in this particular case, as in other high-profile cases, I think the media is a huge asset to the police. If it hadn't been for the media, this tipster, whether this is a true or false tip, may have not known to even write in.

Now, regarding this tip, it was three pages, single-spaced, fully detailed. That's the kind of tip that the police cannot afford to ignore. Without the media, this may never have happened.

COSSACK: But Nancy, you know, there must be hundreds of tips that the police get. Some are detailed, some aren't. Do you think they just react because this is -- they have to react, and in some ways, it's the -- it's the product of the media?

GRACE: Well, I think in some cases they have to react. The media pressure is on them. But believe it or not, as a former law enforcer myself, they want to solve this case. They have dealt with so many victims' families, they realize the pain the Levys are in, and it's their duty to crack the case.

Now, a problem with tips is this: I see it (a) much pain being caused to the Levy family if this is a false tip. Two, it diverts police attention, their money, their time, their energy, and also, you've got the realization that the real killer or kidnapper is out there getting a real kick out of a false tip. So in three ways, a false tip is very harmful to the investigation.

COSSACK: Julian Epstein, in terms of a false tip being harmful to the investigation, what do police do?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF MINORITY COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, the police have to follow every single tip. You can't decide before you follow up a tip whether or not you should. So I think the police have to. And I think what's going on with the tip today is the police are downplaying it because I don't think they want to see a lot of cameras.

But I think there's something that's very important to respond to what Nancy just said, because I agree with Nancy that the media can play a very constructive role to the extent that it forces public attention, and thereby, the police respond and the public is informed about it. That may help Chandra Levy.

But let's be honest about what's going on here. The police are responding, Nancy, to this the way they are, because the national, the international media corps are following this story.

The international media corps is following this story, the press corps is following this story not because -- I hate to say -- because of the concern about Chandra Levy, but because this story has cache. It has the confluence of power, a congressman and sex, and I think that's what is going on here. And I think...

GRACE: Julian, Julian...

EPSTEIN: ... that it raises the question about...


EPSTEIN: And I know you share this concern, Nancy. It raises the concern about all of the hundreds of thousands of other missing persons. When you don't have the congressman involved in an extramarital affair, you don't get that kind of media attention.

GRACE: But Julian -- but Julian, sending out 100 recruits to comb a park may be due to media attention, but following up on what seems to be a reasonable possibility in a tip, I think police would do on their own.

EPSTEIN: I agree. We don't disagree with that. We agree with that.

GRACE: And remember, this isn't something like Ms. Cleo from the Psychic Network calling in.

EPSTEIN: No, no, I understand that. I'm not saying that.

GRACE: This was a very detailed tip.

EPSTEIN: I'm just saying -- I'm just saying let's not -- let's not fool ourselves into thinking why there's all this media coverage. I wish there was...

GRACE: I think you're -- you're not being fair to the police, Julian.

EPSTEIN: ... all of this media coverage -- no, I don't -- do you think that the police responds to every single missing persons case the way they're responding to here?


EPSTEIN: Of course not, Nancy. You know that.

GRACE: But I do think they follow up on tips.

EPSTEIN: You know that they're responding because the media's involved in this. The media is involved in this because...

COSSACK: Let me jump...

EPSTEIN: And I think it's good that the family's...


COSSACK: Julian, speaking of the media, Tom, you're the one who's covering this story for "USA." Does this story have cache, as Julian says?

SQUITIERI: It does have a certain amount of extra interest in it because of the potential role of the congressman. Sure, and to deny that would be -- would be -- would not be fair to the story.

But I would disagree with Julian on one point, is that I think that -- there's a lot of good that comes out of this. Already, I have seen increased coverage of other missing persons, something I think that all -- everyone would agree to. And sometimes it takes a incident like this, cache in Julian's word, to prompt the media to do what we all believe should be done.

EPSTEIN: Well, I hope (UNINTELLIGIBLE) reform, because Joyce Chang, who happened to be someone that I knew very well -- she was someone who worked on Capitol Hill then at the INS...

COSSACK: And Joyce Chang was another missing woman here, a young woman here in Washington, D.C.

EPSTEIN: Joyce Chang, another missing person, had nowhere near this type of coverage, because it didn't have the cache.

The other issue about the -- the other issue about the...


SQUITIERI: The thing about that, too, is one more thing...


COSSACK: Let -- let me just -- let me ask you both to hold the thought for a second. I've got to take a -- I've got to take a break. When we come back, more on the search for Chandra Levy. We'll talk to more of our guests. Stay with us.



SUSAN LEVY, CHANDRA LEVY'S MOTHER: It's very hard. Very, very difficult. It's hard to get up in the morning, it's hard to get started, hard to face a new day, hard to put makeup on and just go out and plan things. Very difficult.


COSSACK: All right, we're back. I'm Roger Cossack, sitting in for Larry King.

Let's go to Cynthia Alksne now in San Diego. Cynthia, the FBI has recently made this -- this statement regarding the tip that we've been talking about. They have said there are no plans to conduct this search of Fort Lee in Virginia at this time. Now, the question is whether or not that means they're not going to -- they're not going to search tonight or they're going to search tomorrow. Or is this just the kind of thing that the FBI is trying to do to perhaps tone this story down a little bit?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it's in the interests of the investigation to slow down the media frenzy. My guess would be that when you look at a three-page, single-spaced note, you can tell whether or not you're dealing with some wacko named "Sunbird" who thinks Elvis lives under the Lincoln Memorial, or whether or not you have somebody with some serious information. So they'll make a determination about that. And then the FBI and the D.C. police detectives who are working this case -- and they're working it together no matter what anybody says -- will make a determination if, if they think there's something real. And if they do, they're down there.

And they are not going to tell anybody -- in fact, they might even mislead us and go down there tonight. I would venture to guess that if D.C. detectives and the FBI think there's something to it, they're down there right now and they're just not telling you. And remember, it's a military installation, and so there's controlled access.

GRACE: Cynthia, another issue is, I believe, that the military police have already been to the site.


GRACE: So while D.C. and FBI may not go down there, they can trust the military police with their own cadaver dogs to go there, which I understand they've already taken a look.

ALKSNE: Right. All I'm saying is I don't believe that. I think they'll do it. I think they'll go down and take a look for themselves.

GRACE: I think they may go themselves, too.

SQUITIERI: And Cynthia, I know how your mind works, and you know, you have to immediately raise the question that if indeed this is on a military base, how did the person who may have delivered the body have access to that. That opens up a whole new avenue of thought process for investigators.

COSSACK: That is an interesting point and let's talk to Mark Geragos about this. Mark, this was a very detailed tip -- three pages through the "WeTip" organization, and it was -- details exactly about how the body was disposed of. It's the kind of thing that, first of all, if it turns out to be true, how does somebody get on a military reservation.

It opens up all kinds of other leads, doesn't it?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It sure does, but first on a personal note, I am delighted, Roger, to see you and to have Tom and Julian here and not be outnumbered by blonde former federal prosecutors. It's a welcome relief, and I would like to thank you at the outset.

ALKSNE: We are still smarter than the three of you so, don't get carried away. In brain matter you are still outweighed. Don't get too cocky.

GERAGOS: She has been down there in Lego Land broiling away, so excuse her.

The answer to your question is, if it's true, and God forbid that I actually agree to some degree with Cynthia, but if in fact thing does not appear to be written by someone who has a transistor implanted in their brain that is affected by low flying aircraft, then there may be a real serious issue as Tom has alluded to, as to how somebody got access there, who the person is that actually knows this that is actually giving the information.

Probably, you've got a reward fund now that's reached in excess of $200,000. And you are getting to the point now where if somebody else knows about what happened, they are going to go to an organization which has had tremendous success in the past, and they are going to give the information and if they give it in a detailed format like they have here, you probably will succeed in finding or solving this case with the confluence of the media attention and the reward money.

COSSACK: All right, let's take a break. When we come back, let's talk some more about the search for Chandra Levy. Let's find out about Congressman Gary Condit and what his troubles are now in the House of Representatives and the Congress. Stay with us.


COSSACK: We're back talking about the search for Chandra Levy. Let's spend a few more moments with Susan Aguilar from WeTip, who is the source or the funnel, if you will, of the tip that has come into the FBI that at least claims that the body of Chandra Levy is at Fort Lee, Virginia.

Susan, you said that any tips to your organization being anonymous, anonymity is the key. But what happens if in fact the police need to know who the person was that gave you the tip?

AGUILAR: Well, sometimes that can work if the law enforcement officer has a question for the informant, when we take a tip we ask the informant, if you have further information, would you be willing to call back?

We can then post that question on the tip, and ask that question of the informant when they do call back. We also, we never stand in the way of law enforcement. We don't want to circumvent law enforcement in any way. If the informant would like to work with the police by all means, we would put the informant in contact with the investigating officer.

But as I said, Wetip is there for people who want to remain anonymous. So often times it's the law enforcement officer that will have to use the tip just as they get it, whatever the information is. Now, as it's been said, this tip had some great information. It was very extensive information and that was immediately relayed on to law enforcement to do with as they need to.

But, actually, we never can contact our informant in any way. So we have no control over whether or not they ever really do call back or will ever may be even work with law enforcement.

COSSACK: Now what happens if, in fact, someone did give you a good tip and they were in line for the reward because of the ability to give you that tip, how would they go about getting it?

AGUILAR: WeTip has paid out about nearly a million dollars over in rewards over our 30-year history. And we pay those out anonymously. Typically we have paid them out through post offices and we send a postal money order to a post office. The choice is that of the informant and it sits there for 30 days and anytime within that 30-day window of opportunity, they can walk in and pick up their cash reward. With the larger reward, as in this case, we would use banks, and they can also, again, walk in pick up a cash reward and they don't even have to claim their identity through their Social Security Number. They're absolutely anonymous, they never have to even claim it with the IRS.

COSSACK: Not even with the IRS, that's exactly what we were thinking here today. That's the only free money I know of. I hope somebody can give you that information and get that money.

Kim Petersen, in terms of the reward, is it growing? Where is the reward now?

PETERSEN: The reward is just over $200,000 with the combination of various sources. The National Inquirer has committed $100,000. We do believe that there is a bail bondsman out in San Diego who has stated that he has put $50,000 in a trust account for the Levy case. We are still trying to verify that. Congressman Condit put in $10,000 and the Levy family put in 15. And approximately, $22,000 has been donated to our foundation in Chandra's name. So it's just over $200,000 but it's coming from a variety of organizations and individuals.

COSSACK: Kim, I know that you've been in close contact with the Levys. Have you -- are they getting quite a bit of mail and are they getting quite a bit of correspondence from people on this?

PETERSEN: Yes, they receive a number of cards and letters in the mail. We receive many e-mails daily that are addressed to them and directed to them. And we pass them on immediately, and I know that the support means a tremendous amount to them, and from people all over the country that they have never met, obviously.

And I know that when my Boss's, the Carrington's lived through this same exact experience, they said that the letters and cards and hugs and phone calls from people they didn't even know was what took them through day by day and supported them. And so the Levys are experiencing that same thing.

COSSACK: All right, Susan Aguilar from WeTip, Kim Petersen, thank you very much for joining us. Let's take a break. When we come back, more on the search for Chandra Levy. Stay with us.



ROBERT LEVY, FATHER OF CHANDRA LEVY: We keep the faith up, you know, faith and prayer. And a lot of people are praying and we hope that we will, we will -- someone will see her and will find her alive. We've got to keep that up, you know, as long as possible, unless we have other evidence.


COSSACK: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. I am Roger Cossack sitting in for Larry King tonight who is on a well-deserved couple of days worth of vacation. Let's reintroduce our guests one more time: Mark Geragos, Nancy Grace, let's talk to Cynthia Alksne and then we will see Julian Epstein and of course last but not least Tom Squitieri.

Tom, let's talk a little bit about what is going on for Congressman Condit in Congress. There has been some harsh words from some of his fellow Democrats as well as the Republicans.

SQUITIERI: That's right. You could set aside the Republican words for a moment because they could be expected from a partisan atmosphere, but Senator Dianne Feinstein, senior senator from California had some very harsh words, saying essentially that Congressman Condit lied to her early on when he said he didn't have a relationship with Chandra Levy, and that this has destroyed his credibility. Essentially she considers his credibility hopeless and can't be regained.

This follows up House Democratic leader Gephardt's remarks that there might be a need for an ethics committee investigation and it also follows up Congressman Stenholm who is a Blue Dog Democrat, sits next to Congressman Condit in a lot of committees saying his rebuke of the congressman.

It shows that the growing unhappiness and unease that the Democrats are having with Congressman Condit as well as their concern that they are going to lose this congressional seat and they don't want to lose any seats to try to regain the House in 2002. Losing a seat that they now hold is bad. This is the only congressional district in California that is represented by a Democrat that voted for President Bush last year.

So they know that the trend is against them already.

COSSACK: And Julian, a Democrat who was elected overwhelmingly and had been elected overwhelmingly for a number of years, this must be hard for the Democrats to take.

EPSTEIN: Well, very hard, for all of the reasons that Tom mentioned. Very hard because of the redistricting implications and the reelection in the House being a very close margin for Republicans at this point. I think, my last day there of course was on Monday and I think that overwhelmingly the sentiment up there, Republican and Democrat is that the behavior is in every way morally indefensible.

The fact that the affair was not admitted early on, I don't think anybody would begin to defend that. I do think that many, if not most of Republicans and Democrats believe that there's more information that we don't know and that we know. And that there's a lot of misinformation.

Two major stories this week: one about the minister's daughter, the other about Gary Condit's wife, the police wanting to question her. Both of them false. The media pounced on them as if they were fact when they first came out. I think, you know, in addition to many of the other things, we talk about the media's role here, I think that the media -- and Tom is one of the best journalists, I think, in the country, Tom can speak to this -- but I think that the media is a little bit chastened right now by the fact that they have been following some stories that are wrong and also focusing almost entirely on Gary Condit even though the police are saying they have now unturned almost every stone, and they think that all direction -- all arrows point -- as Mark Geragos said the other night away from Gary Condit.

COSSACK: Let's turn to our former federal prosecutors and of course that grumbling man in Los Angeles, and let's talk about the issues that lawyers are concerned with. Cynthia, let's talk about the issue of the lawyers' advice versus the political advice.

The lawyer probably would tell Gary Condit you know, don't talk, don't talk, don't talk. The politician is saying, listen, you have to come clean, you have to get out from under this politically. What do you do?

ALKSNE: Well at this point he's politically dead. You know, the old, stick a fork in him. So forget the political advice. It doesn't matter anyway. And the lawyers' advice at this point ought to be just take five.

He might as well do that and to try to stop continually giving statements. As a lawyer I would say quit continually giving statements. You will only be cross-examined with them later. The polygraph report, you know, you can only be cross-examined with a statement, whatever statement you give to a polygrapher can be used against you in cross examination even though the fact that it was a polygrapher FBI agent who took the statement cannot be told to the jury.

Whatever you said to them can come in and there's just a minefield of things, if you actually wanted to represent this low-life that you tell him to go ahead take five. And let me just say one thing as a Democrat, because...

GERAGOS: Spoken like a true prosecutor who has never did any kind of defense.

ALKSNE: And never would, don't forget that, Mark.

GERAGOS: What is that supposed to mean, if you were to represent this low-life? Abbe Lowell is a fine lawyer and he has a right to represent clients. This is the United States of America the last time I looked, Alksne.

ALKSNE: Let me say one thing about being a Democrats and the way the Democrats are responding to that. And this is, I don't think that the Democrats are so worried about the seat or so worried about how they are going to handle the redistricting or anything else. The Democrats are embarrassed that a member of our party would be so morally reprehensible that he would put his career and his politics ahead of this family and this child in the search for their child. And that is more important to a man like Gephardt and a woman like Feinstein than redistricting ever is.

EPSTEIN: I think that that's right, Cynthia. Cynthia, I agree with you. I think that Democrats and Republican, I think, you know, I just came off of the Hill, as you know, and the fact of the matter is that most of the people up there, the overwhelming numbers of members of Congress are honorable, hard-working, talented people.

And this is -- they could make four times as much money if they were to leave and walk out the door as they could. And this gives a very false representation of that institution. It's a fine place and it's a great place to work. So I think Republicans and Democrats are very dismayed by the reflection on the institution.

But I think that you are wrong about Gary Condit and what he will do, Cynthia. I think that what you will see is he is going to go spend some time with his family. He hasn't been able to see his family since this episode began back in May, at least his kids. And I think by the beginning of September...

GRACE: I don't buy that one minute.

EPSTEIN: ... on a show -- Well, I will bet you a cup of coffee on it because you are here in Washington a lot -- I bet you he will come on a show...


GRACE: That may be, Julian, that may be the way that it plays out. But it's not because he hasn't had a chance to talk to his kids. He's had plenty of time to talk to his family. They could easily come see him. This is just another ruse on Condit's part...


EPSTEIN: With due respect, you are missing the point. The question was, what is he going to do?

GRACE: No, you are missing the point. Condit is doing another stalling technique -- he and Abbe Lowell.

GERAGOS: Well, first of all, once again, Julian...

COSSACK: Let me just say this...

GERAGOS: What you see happen is, they have pounded away at this guy. It doesn't matter how awful the accusation is, it doesn't matter how scurrilous and unfounded it is. Give the guy and his family a break.

GRACE: Mark, who is they?

GERAGOS: Give Carolyn Condit a break.

(CROSSTALK) COSSACK: Nancy and Mark, come on, you have to separate for one second now. Because I have to take a break. When we come back, more on the search for Chandra Levy and more from Nancy and Mark. Stay with us.


LINDA ZAMSKY. CHANDRA LEVY'S AUNT: We had conversations starting at Thanksgiving where she told me she was dating an older, married man, and I -- and he was -- somebody powerful in Washington, in the government. And I said, well, who is he? No, I am not allowed to tell, and it has to be kept confidential because it would bother -- hurt his career, and I said, listen, you know, be careful. He's married.

Oh, she told me that he has two kids. I said be careful, he has two kids, and he's in government, you know. You just have to be careful.



COSSACK: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE, and were discussing the search for Chandra Levy.

Mark Geragos, you know, you have indicated that you would represent Congressman Condit if necessary. But let me ask you, as a person who, there is -- have you ever seen someone as a defense lawyer that you are who keeps being referred to as a non-suspect, who keeps looking more like a suspect?

GERAGOS: I have never seen anybody who has been tried and convicted in the media with less evidence than Gary Condit. No, that's clear. I mean, this guy has been, and his wife Carolyn, have been tried and convicted and subjected to all of these outrageous rumors and all of these leaps of faiths, none of which are admissible into a court of law, all supposedly based upon things that are fact, as Julian has said, and turn out to be absolutely and utterly false, and no, I have never seen anything just quite like it.

COSSACK: Here's a fact, Mark, here's a fact, Mark. He apparently lied to the police the first couple of times that he met with them.

GERAGOS: That is not a fact. That is one of the things that gets out there that is supposedly a fact, Roger. But what he did in that first interview is he declined to answer one question, and the one question was, were you sexually involved? He talked about every other thing. Now, my compatriots here will tell you, well, he didn't tell this, he didn't tell that. He lied.

If he had lied, that's a crime and he could be charged with it, and he has not been and never be because he did not lie.

(CROSSTALK) EPSTEIN: Roger, you are saying that he looks more and more like a criminal here. And in fact, the police are saying exactly the opposite.

COSSACK: Well, that's my point. The police...

EPSTEIN: Remember what happened five years ago...

COSSACK: ...that he's not a suspect.

EPSTEIN: Remember what happened five years ago with Richard Jewell and the Atlantic City bombing, is that the media and the police all thought this was the guy...


COSSACK: Let me bring Nancy in here. Nancy, come on in. Nancy.

GRACE: Roger, in the perfect style of a defense attorney, and no, I don't blame them for this. They are pointing the finger at everyone else but Condit. Listen, Condit is the one we can blame for the media attention, the media is harassing him and chasing him down the sidewalk, because he won't come clean. He's the one who slept with the intern...


GERAGOS: Why don't you listen to what the police say which is, we are satisfied, we don't have him as a suspect, and nothing to do with him.

GRACE: When you talk to a guy four times, you want a polygraph...


GRACE: search his apartment, he is a target. OK?


GERAGOS: Nancy, the problem is that the police don't want to talk to him anymore. They have given up.

GRACE: Yes, they gave up because, until they name him a suspect...

GERAGOS: He cooperated. They got four interviews. He took the polygraph, he gave DNA and records. What more is he supposed to do? And the...


GERAGOS: ...because it wasn't administered by the police and it was administered by somebody else?

GRACE: That's right. GERAGOS: He is the Washington, D.C. polygrapher.

EPSTEIN: Nancy, you know something else? You keep saying, we keep going through this every night, you said several week ago, there must be a lie detector test taken. There was one taken, not to your satisfaction, I don't like them either. But one was taken. Then you said, let's see what the search of the apartment turns up? Let's see what the timeline....

GRACE: No, Julian, I never said that.


EPSTEIN: Nancy, the game that is being played is by the attackers.

GRACE: They wouldn't even find Condit's fingerprints, OK?

EPSTEIN: If I could finish my point, the game that is being played by the attackers, it's a death by a thousand cuts. Every time the goal post is moved over and then you say, well, it's got to be something else, he must have had an affair with another woman.

I don't think you can still identify one piece of physical or circumstantial evidence that contradicts the bottom line that the police are saying, which is that all of the evidence points away from Gary Condit. You want to keep focusing on it, though, and I think, to some extent...


COSSACK: You know what? I'm going to jump in here a second because it's time to take a break, but you know, I am not so sure, Julian, that that's true, and we will talk to Tom Squitieri when we come back who probably knows more about this case probably than the police do.

Stick around and we'll be right back.


COSSACK: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. I am Roger Cossack sitting in for Larry King, who is off for a well-deserved vacation for a few days.

Tom, when we broke before the -- before the last break, we were talking about, what evidence is there? What evidence they don't have? And of course, as you can imagine, there's a little bit of disagreement between our panelists.

Are the police satisfied that there is no evidence against Congressman Condit?

SQUITIERI: I will broaden it out if you don't mind. There are no suspects and everyone's a suspect. Police Chief Gainer is an excellent police officer, you couldn't ask for a better police chief to run the department here, he's a smart guy, his people are good people, they're not letting anything go by.

Almost every place me -- or Kevin Johnson, my partner, have been, they have been there already, and despite of what like Julian likes to say, we've focused on other things besides Congressman Condit.

EPSTEIN: You have...

SQUITIERI: Secondly and most importantly, about the debate about whether Congressman Condit has been forthcoming or not. The police said one thing that was very telling. They were disappointed that he was not more forthcoming earlier on. You can quibble about what he may or may not have said, and you know, Mark makes a good point, as Nancy and Cynthia do, and Julian.

But they were disappointed he was not more forthcoming. Dick Thornburgh, former attorney general of this country, former governor of Pennsylvania, said, his lack of cooperation, meaning Condit's lack of cooperation earlier on, helped a case grow cold. I am paraphrasing slightly. That's is an issue that really can't be talked away by how much he cooperated later on.

COSSACK: Later on.

EPSTEIN: I stipulate to what Tom just said, I agree that the lack of his forthcomingness in the beginning phases of this was morally indefensible and was, if nothing else, I think harmful. But the question I think Tom, is: why is it now, if the police are saying that Gary Condit is no longer a central figure in this investigation, why does 90 percent of the media coverage focus on him?

SQUITIERI: 90 percent of the media coverage I can't address. I can only address what the police are really saying, and they are saying that he's not a suspect. Nor is anybody else a...

EPSTEIN: No, no, no.

SQUITIERI: Yes they are.

EPSTEIN: This week they're saying he is not only not a suspect, not even a central figure in the investigation anymore. That's something that is very different.


SQUITIERI: Well, the thing is...

GRACE: Do you really think that the police will tell you everything about their investigation?

EPSTEIN: Unfortunately, Nancy...


EPSTEIN: Unfortunately, if you were paying attention to the case you would realize that nearly everything that goes into the police department seems to be coming out in simulcast, we learned about interviews and what people are saying.

GRACE: If you were watching the case you would note that two weeks ago that he was throwing out evidence in the dumpster.

EPSTEIN: Nancy, Nancy.

GRACE: What?

EPSTEIN: The police chief, Gainer, this week himself said, I am not talking about leaks, I'm talking about what the police themselves are saying and the police this week said that not only is he not a suspect, that he is no longer.

GRACE: Everybody's a suspect until the suspect is found.


EPSTEIN: ...the death by a thousand cuts.


EPSTEIN: And you fail to cite circumstantial or physical evidence that points into his direction, and the police are telling you that it's not.

GRACE: No, I want to find Chandra Levy, and he hasn't told all.

COSSACK: All right, I want to jump in here a second and take a break. When we come back, I want to ask our esteemed panel about something called obstruction of justice. Maybe he's not a suspect in a murder case. Hopefully he isn't. Police say that he isn't. But what about obstruction of justice?

Stay with us.



I want to go out to Cynthia Alksne in San Diego. Cynthia, what about obstruction of justice for the congressman?

ALKSNE: Well, there's two allegations out there. One is this watch case woman, Joleen, and there's an important fact in which we have not focused on, and as a prosecutor of course you would, and that is this Joleen woman actually made the phone calls to the staffer. That's an important fact when you analyze the case because it's hard to see an obstruction where the person who is being obstructed is making the phone call to the person who is doing the obstruction.

So, I mean, the case obviously has a lot of problems and in the advice that he gives -- that he gave her could be taken two different ways, and there's a fact question, and those are not the favorite kind of cases to take for a prosecutor.

COSSACK: So Cynthia says... ALKSNE: And I think that there is problems with the obstruction of justice.

COSSACK: Tom, you actually broke this story...

SQUITIERI: With my partner, yes.

COSSACK: Tell us a little bit about this.

SQUITIERI: Well the interesting thing that Cynthia, that you may find noteworthy in what you just said, although Ms. McKay did call Mike Dayton, her old friend from California, she said in part of the conversation that she raised the issue after he said, don't talk to the authorities, she raised the issue whether or not that would be illegal at all, and he said, oh, don't worry about that. It would never come to that.

So they were discussing the possible legality of it over the phone, according to Ms. McKay. I am not a lawyer and you guys have thrashed this out on whether or not it's an obstruction of justice, and that's for the grand jury and the courts to decide. We thought that the story was important for several reasons: one, she was the so- called watch woman. And that it was an allegation of possible wrongdoing by a senior longtime staffer and confidante of the congressman.

And second, because her story of her relationship was relevant to how the FBI was profiling Chandra Levy. How would Chandra would have reacted in the last few days of her relationship with Congressman Condit? Could have identical patterns to what Joleen and other women have had.

COSSACK: Mark, is this the kind of thing where this would be an indictment or is it too tough of a case?

GERAGOS: Well, if some prosecutor wants an indictment, as they often say, Roger, he will get it. You can indict anybody for anything for a federal grand jury.

That having been said, either of these allegations, whether it had to do with Anne Marie or with the watch-case woman, they are both dry holes. The definition of the obstruction of justice, under Section 1512 requires an official investigation. At least in the first one that has to do with the tabloids' story, that had nothing to do with any official investigation. The affidavit had to do with whether or not they were going to print the story in the tabloid.

The second one, Dayton has specifically denied that he said that. And said, let the past be the past. And as Cynthia says, there is clearly two interpretations of that, that's hardly the kind of case that most federal prosecutors that I know would ever take to a federal grand jury.

COSSACK: Nancy, would you want to take this to a grand jury?

GRACE: If I thought that someone was supplying a witness with a false affidavit to sign that could turn up in a legal investigation, you are darn right I would. But the sad case is, Roger, that this is rich man's justice, and he will never be brought to account for what he has done in this case, so far as obstruction of justice goes.

COSSACK: Cynthia, do you want add something on the obstruction of justice?

ALKSNE: I want to add that I think that there is enough evidence here to do a grand jury investigation. On the Joleen woman, I think that, the watch-case woman, I think that she's interesting and the prosecutors will want to know about her, because there has to have been some reason why he wanted to hide her.

Now, maybe that it's just a sexual affair, but maybe it is more than that. What does she know? Where has she been with him? And those types of things. I just -- because of the pattern of conduct, I would open up the grand jury investigation and it may shock you to know there are many grand jury investigations that prosecutors ultimately decide, hey, there's not enough evidence to go forward or it's inappropriate to go forward, and we just decline ever to present charges, or even to...

COSSACK: Cynthia, let me just jump in here, it's now time to say good night from LARRY KING LIVE.

Before I go, let me give you some information: tomorrow night I will be back one more time for Larry King and we will have some very important breaking news on the Chandra Levy case. So please stay with us.

And Friday night, Larry will be back: 12 of the 13 women who are in the United States Senate right now will be with Larry King Friday night. You know that that will be a great show, so come back tomorrow night, come back Friday night, and I will see you tomorrow.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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