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Condit aide denies report he encouraged woman not to talk to police



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top aide to Rep. Gary Condit flatly denied a report that he told a woman not to speak to law enforcement authorities about an alleged affair between the congressman and her.

"It's absolutely not true," Michael Dayton, an administrative assistant for the California Democrat, said Thursday. USA Today reported that Dayton told the woman, identified as Joleen Argentini McCay, to "leave (the affair) in the past or it will ruin you."

McCay, sources said, is the woman who gave Condit a watch. Condit allegedly disposed of the watch case in suburban Virginia hours before the FBI and police searched his apartment earlier this month.

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Condit, 53, is one of roughly 100 people who have been questioned in connection with the disappearance of Chandra Levy, 24, a former government intern who was last seen April 30. Levy's aunt said her niece had an affair with the lawmaker, and police sources say Condit admitted to a romantic relationship. Publicly, he has only acknowledged a friendship.

McKay's story is similar to the one told by Ann Marie Smith, an airline attendant who says that Condit asked her not to talk to police and to sign a false affidavit denying they had an affair.

Law enforcement officials, meanwhile, continued to negotiate with Condit's lawyers over the conditions for a fourth interview. The FBI wants Condit's help in fashioning a psychological portrait of Levy, and police also want to review the timeline Condit has supplied for May 1, the last day Levy was heard from, via e-mails.

Levy lawyer: Condit 'hiding little things'

Billy Martin, an attorney for the Levy family, criticized Condit for his behavior, saying he was "hiding little things" that complicated the investigation.

"We've never accused Congressman Condit of anything illegal," he said Wednesday in an interview with a local television station. "We've always only asked for his cooperation and for him to tell the truth, and the actions such as hiding the watchbox continue to show that he's hiding something, and we wish he'd cut that out and come forward with the truth."

Meanwhile, in Condit's central California district, the FBI on Wednesday interviewed a Pentecostal minister, Otis Thomas, who, sources say, had told authorities that his then-18-year-old daughter had an affair with Condit.

Sources said Thomas -- who worked as a landscaper for the Levy family -- has since backed away from that claim. Sources also told CNN that they have evidence the minister lied to FBI investigators when he told them about the alleged affair.

Thomas declined comment upon his return to his apartment Wednesday.

Lie detector test asked just 4 questions

A private lie detector test given to Condit reportedly asked just four questions about Levy and none about airline flight attendant Smith's allegations that the congressman tried to persuade her to sign a false affidavit, according to The Associated Press. The AP quotes people who have seen the polygraph results.

Three individuals who told the AP they saw the results after they were turned over to police said the former FBI lie-detector test expert who administered the polygraph did not directly ask the congressman if he had an affair with the missing former federal intern.

The test did ask another question designed to get at the issue, according to the sources, who spoke to the AP only on condition of anonymity.

"Has Chandra Levy ever been to your residence in Washington?" the polygrapher asked, according to the AP's sources. Condit answered "yes," and the polygrapher concluded he was truthful, the sources reportedly said.

CNN National Correspondent Bob Franken contributed to this report.






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