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Feinstein raps Condit over Levy probe

Feinstein
Feinstein said Condit's conduct "affects his integrity and credibility."  


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- California's senior senator Thursday sharply criticized Rep. Gary Condit for his actions after former intern Chandra Levy's disappearance, suggesting he has hurt the police probe.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Condit's reluctance to immediately reveal the nature of his relationship with Levy undermined his credibility and violated the public trust -- and may have hindered investigators' efforts to find Levy, who has not been seen since late April.

"What concerns me has been the congressman's reluctance to come forward with a full and honest accounting of the relationship when this information would have been the most useful," Feinstein said in a written statement Thursday.

VIDEO
Levy's aunt Linda Zamsky says in an interview with CNN's Bob Franken that Chandra often confided in her about Condit. (August 1)

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Levy tip a hoax, investigators say  
 
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Levy, 24, was last confirmed as having been seen April 30, shortly after leaving her internship at the United States Bureau of Prisons to return to her parents home in Modesto, California, which is part of Condit's congressional district.

Condit, 53 and the married father of two, has acknowledged only a friendship with Levy, but police have said he admitted an affair to them, and Levy family members have said Chandra talked of an affair.

Condit has never been named as a suspect in Levy's disappearance, and police said recently he is not the "central figure" in their missing-person investigation.

But political pressure on him appeared to be building Thursday even as the focus of the police probe shifted away from him.

Feinstein's comments are significant because she is known as a moderate, not given to rash statements. And, like Condit, she is a California Democrat and has a keen understanding of the state's politics.

"Congressman Condit's failure to come forward and to be fully candid, combined with the conduct involved, really does violate the public trust and affects his integrity and credibility as a legislator," Feinstein said in a written statement.

Feinstein's statement followed news reports in California newspaper that said she could not "forgive" Condit.

"If I gave that impression, I apologize because of course I can forgive," Feinstein said in her statement.






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• Rep. Gary Condit
• D.C. Metropolitan Police Department
• U.S. Bureau of Prisons
• Sen. Dianne Feinstein

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