My Word for July 3, 2001

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Chandra Levy is still missing, but cops are now conducting searches that indicate they have arrived at the possibility she may be dead ... either suicide or murder.

And then we have Gary Condit allegedly asking his girlfriend, the flight attendant Anne Marie Smith, to sign an affadavit saying she didn't have an affair with him when, she says, she had.

That is so transparently the old Clinton chick trick, it is amazing Condit would bother.

Is it a crime to solicit a sworn statement that is a lie? I don't think so, at least not until it is put forward as a truthful answer to a lawful question. That's when it becomes an illegal lie.

Just holding the thing for future use maybe, is not much, except an indicator that the guy is scrambling and has sunk to that awful level where the only thing he can say is: "Who you gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes?"

Condit's dance around the truth has exposed his secret life. It has not exposed anything that appears to be relevant to the disappearance of Chandra Levy.

However, messing around with the truth, as Condit has done here, is also never entirely irrelevant to a murder investigation. So as much as many would like to excuse him, and send him home to deal with his wife and family, we cannot do that yet.

What was going on in the last days and hours of Chandra Levy's life? It seems to have been centered on Gary Condit — trying to get him on the phone, trying to see him, trying to patch up their broken relationship, whatever that was.

So far that's all we've got to work on, so like it or not Mr. congressman, until an entirely separate scenario explains what has happened to her... you're still front and center in the Chandra Levy investigation.

He told his girlfriend he wasn't seeing someone else, and now ... considering the news on chandra levy ... she doesn't believe him.

So why should we?

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