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Levys: 'Deep suspicions' about Condit

Bob Levy, right, said he has "deep suspicions" about Condit's role in his daughter's disappearance.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The parents of Chandra Levy said Wednesday that they hold Rep. Gary Condit partly responsible for their daughter's disappearance.

While not directly accusing the California Democrat in Chandra's disappearance, Susan Levy, the former intern's mother, told CNN's Larry King that she believes her daughter would be around if Condit had not been a part of her life.

Condit, 53 and married, and Levy, 24, had an affair, according to her family and police sources who said he admitted to it during an interview with law enforcement authorities.

"I feel like that for some reason, internally, that as a mother that it's possible that my daughter would have graduated and she would be here with us" if not for her relationship with Condit, Susan Levy said.

Bob Levy echoed his wife's comments, saying he had "deep suspicions" about Condit's involvement in his daughter's disappearance. Chandra's father told King that he thought Condit knew more than he told the Levys and authorities.

Bob and Susan Levy appeared on CNN's Larry King Live. CNN's Bob Franken reports (August 15)

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Condit statement on the Modesto Bee editorial
Key players
Profile: Gary Condit
Transcript: The Levys on 'Larry King Live'  
Message Board: The case of the missing intern  

Condit's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, responded minutes after the interview aired by telling CNN the Levys were merely trying to "keep their daughter's name and picture in the news."

"It works to keep Chandra's name in the news by keeping Congressman Condit's name in the news," said Lowell, adding the Levys never accepted the help and information that he offered five weeks ago.

Police are handling Chandra Levy's disappearance as a missing person investigation. She was last seen April 30 at a Washington gym where she canceled her membership in preparation for her return to her hometown of Modesto, California -- which is part of Condit's district.

Police said there is no evidence of foul play, no suspects and no hard leads in Levy's disappearance. Through statements from aides and lawyers, Condit has staunchly maintained he had nothing to do with Levy's disappearance and has no knowledge of her whereabouts.

Critics say Condit's initial failure to reveal the nature of his relationship with Levy -- police sources say he told of it during the third of four interviews they had with him -- stymied the investigation. The Modesto Bee, the district's leading newspaper, also said that Condit has a responsibility to publicly explain himself and called on him to resign.

Lowell said the Levys' public criticisms of Condit are an attempt to keep their daughter's name in the news.  

Sources close to Condit told CNN the embattled seven-term lawmaker will make a public appearance to explain his side of the story sometime between now and Labor Day, before the end of the congressional recess.

"If we could guarantee it would make a difference, we would care," Bob Levy said of the public criticism of Condit. "But you know, he's just doing what he's doing, and that's the way he is."

Susan Levy said she thought Condit had not spoken publicly because "he is afraid." Asked what he would be afraid of, Levy told King, "You need to ask him."

Bob Levy said Condit's behavior -- including his refusal to meet with private investigators the couple have hired and phone conversations the Levys had with Condit -- "makes us more suspicious."

Bob Levy said he called Condit's home the night of May 5, with Condit's wife Carolyn answering and the congressman himself later calling back.

"I talked to him and told him Chandra was missing," Bob Levy said. "He said, 'Oh.' He didn't act too surprised or shocked. He said, 'Well, she's a good friend of mine.' And then he mentioned that he would get in touch with his office and try to get help for us and put up the initial reward."

Susan Levy said she dialed a pager number her husband found on Chandra's cell phone bill the next day, and Condit returned her phone call. She said she then asked Condit whether he had an affair with her daughter.

"And he said, 'No, I only have a professional relationship with her,'" Susan Levy recalled. "I said, 'Oh, what do you mean?'"

She said Condit then explained he talked with Chandra about her career.

Susan Levy said Condit "lied" to her when she questioned him about late-night calls that her daughter had placed to him, calls she said the congressman labeled "work" calls.

The former intern's mother also told King that Condit's "fake political smile" and public actions did not square with his stated desire to help in the investigation.

The Levys' lawyer, Billy Martin, and Susan Levy had a face-to-face meeting with Condit and his lawyer Abbe Lowell at a Washington hotel in June, at which point Susan Levy said Condit vowed to cooperate in the police probe and even work with their private investigators.

Susan Levy said Condit "wanted to give me a hug" after the meeting.

"I refused," Susan Levy said. "I didn't want him to give me a hug."

• Rep. Gary Condit
• Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department

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