Authors reveal new material on the Chandra Levy’s murder case; Actor Dennis Quaid brunches for a cause during the White House Correspondents Association week-end
By Janet Donovan
STILL UNFOLDING TALE
It had all the elements of a Hollywood blockbuster: sex, glamour, scandal, fame, murder and the proverbial intern. The disappearance and murder of 24-year-old Chandra Levy haunts us still, and was the impetus for “Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery” (Scribner)” by the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize winning team Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz. The Levy case became the most famous unsolved murder in recent Washington history.
Like so many other young women before and after her, Levy was captivated not only by the power exuding from the halls of Congress but by Gary Condit, a much older married California congressman. When she disappeared, secrets surfaced: Levy and Condit had been carrying on a steamy affair, which assure months of incessantly breaking news. The soap opera “ruined a lot of lives” the authors claim.
Why all the interest now, some eight years later? Because it wasn’t until 2009 that Ingmar Guandique was arrested for Levy’s murder.
“Scott and I were assigned in 2007 by our editors to take a look at the case. With everything that has been written about it, you would think that people know the story, but they don’t know the real story. We found so many new revelations,” Horwitz says.
“We found out that some of the women who had been involved with Gary Condit told the FBI and the police department that they were fearful for Chandra Levy’s life because of their own experiences with the congressman.”
“The police had tunnel vision about Condit,” Horowitz adds, nothing that they “missed the man now charged with her murder who had been hiding in plain sight. The press also had a tremendous rush to judgment. There were so many rumors that were not substantiated.”
But this is Hollywood: Condit, with his blow-dried hair and infectious smile, made a better story and the press needed their daily fix; Guandique just wouldn’t do.
Nine years later, Levy’s family is still devastated; other members of Congress get involved in scandals; no one cares if Gary Condit is having a hard time; Guandique awaits trial; and Washingtonians continue to wonder a missing piece of the puzzle remains.
A BRUNCH TRADITION
You sure couldn’t tell by his laid back and friendly manner that Dennis Quaid had recently been the victim of medical malpractice when his newborn twins nearly died from a drug overdose. With Dr. Charles Denham of The Quaid Foundation in tow at the Thomson Reuters/ McLaughlin Brunch on the rooftop of the Hay Adams, it was clear that the actor had come to Washington for more than just the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
Since his devastating experience, Quaid has become an international champion for patient safety and you can expect to see him lobbying on Capital Hill. The charismatic star of “Great Balls of Fire” and “Far From Heaven” arrived early, stayed late, chatted up guests and graciously posed for photos with fans of both genders.
Overheard comments on the WHCAD Weekend:
Mort Zuckerman: “The dinner was really terrific because Obama’s humor and timing were outstanding. If Jay Leno works at it, he can become a professional.”
Georgette Mosbacher: “I probably shouldn’t admit that I’ve been coming to this dinner since 1988; it’s like admitting your age. Anyway, it’s one of those Washington traditions where you get to see the president in a fun mood and catch up with old friends.”
John McLaughlin: “This is our 27th party here. I relish them because we engage in friendly conversation and catch up on our families. The White House in the background reminds us what we have been through as a nation. It is a beacon of hope.”
Spotted: Mary and Mandy Ourisman, Tom McMillen, T. Boone Pickens, Dan Glickman, Mark Barondess, Lally Weymouth, Beth Dororetz, Rita Cosby, David Corn, Eleanor Clift, Arianna Huffington and Dana Delaney.