Former California Congressman Gary Condit was never named a suspect in the 2001 murder of Chandra Levy, but the media laser focused on him in the months after the 24-year-old’s disappearance in Washington, D.C.
WATCH: 15 Years After Chandra Levy’s Murder, Former Congressman Gary Condit Opens Up About His Personal Relationship With the D.C. Department of Prisons Intern
Now, Condit, who has co-authored with Breton Peace a new book called “Actual Malice: A True Crime Political Thriller” (Ghost Mountain Publishing/Jay McGraw), speaks out publicly for the first time in 15 years to Dr. Phil in an interview airing today.
“In your book, you talk about that being a watershed event when you realized you and the police weren’t working together,” Dr. Phil begins.
“I thought [police] were coming by to have a discussion about updating me about what was going on,” recalls Condit, who served on the House Intelligence Committee at the time. “It was clear, after a short period, of time they were there to interview me.”
“Do you know why they made that shift in attitude? Dr. Phil asks.
"I thought, 'Well, maybe I irritated them because I pestered them so much,'" says Condit. "At that time in Washington D.C., there were several missing people. The police department in Washington D.C. was having a hard time solving cases, and I was being pretty vocal to them to stay on this."WATCH: Gary Condit's Lawyer: The Media 'Destroyed This Man'
Condit says he was in "total shock" when he realized investigators were suspicious of him in the disappearance of Levy, who was an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
He recalls, "I'm trying to be helpful and cooperative. I was dumbfounded."
Dr. Phil asks, "Their theory was that you had a romantic involvement with [Levy] and that made you a suspect in her disappearance and that's why they began pursuing you?"
Condit says, "Yes, I think that was their rationale." In the video above, he says police were wrong on both counts, explaining, "I did not have a romantic involvement with her, and I was not involved in her disappearance in any way."
Dr. Phil's exclusive interview with Gary Condit airs Thursday - watch more here.
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.”