Former California Congressman Gary Condit is speaking out publicly for the first time in 15 years about the case that rocked Capitol Hill. Chandra Levy, the D.C Federal Bureau of Prisons intern, went missing in 2001, and her remains were later found in a local park in 2002.
Condit was never named a suspect by police, but the media laser focused on what Condit says was a friendship. Condit opens up to Dr. Phil in an exclusive interview about Levy’s case and how his personal relationship with Levy placed him into the center of a media firestorm.WATCH: Gary Condit On Why He Believes Police Were Focused On Him
“She came to the office periodically and we became friends,” says Condit, who represented a district in California, where Levy was from. “There’s nothing strange about this. If you came to my congressional office, and particularly if you came from California … we rolled out the red carpet.” He continues, “Everyone that comes in from my district or from California, I’d give them a phone number and say, ‘If you need anything, call us and let us know.’ That was a constituent service.”
Dr. Phil asks, “But your friendship developed from there?”
“Yeah, she came by periodically,” says Condit, who co-wrote with Breton Peace a new book called “Actual Malice: A True Crime Political Thriller.”
(Ghost Mountain Publishing/Jay McGraw) “She contacted me and asked for assistance and stuff. But I want to make something clear. Chandra did not work for me. She was an intern and then ultimately became an employee at the prison bureau.” WATCH: Gary Condit's Lawyer: The Media 'Destroyed This Man'
Asked if they connected outside the office, Condit replies, "I saw her one time outside the office at a restaurant and she came by my condo once."
Dr. Phil follows up, "She came by your condo once?"
"Maybe twice," Condit says. "I think it was twice she came by. Once again, I want to make this clear: There's nothing unusual about someone coming by my condo. A lot of people did. People have made some speculation that that means something special ... Both times she had a valid reason to come by."
In the video above, Condit describes the "big leap" that investigators made based on Condit's friendship with Levy. Dr. Phil's exclusive interview with Condit airs on Thursday - watch more here.
WATCH: Gary Condit's Message For Chandra Levy's Family
Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran illegal immigrant, was convicted of and sentenced to 60 years in prison for Levy’s murder. While he was granted a new trial in June of 2015, the U.S. Attorney's Office has dropped the charges, saying "that it can no longer prove the murder case against Mr. Guandique beyond a reasonable doubt."