New York -- Dominick Dunne has a theory about what may have happened to Chandra Levy. He thinks it possible she was kidnapped by Middle Easterners who wanted to do a favor for Gary Condit. Remember now who Dunne is before you dismiss this as nonsense. He is our best known chronicler of life among the rich and famous, and of the crimes they sometimes commit, and so when he speaks you should listen.
"I'm not an investigative reporter. But people talk to me, and things just drop in my lap," Dunne is saying now. He is in his East Side apartment, where he spends three days each week. The rest of the time he is at his house in Connecticut. He is writing another novel -- four of his previous novels have been made into television mini-series -- and he is also preparing to be the host of a new series on Court TV: "Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege and Justice." Every Friday night during the O.J. Simpson trial, Dunne would be on the "CBS Evening News," and Dan Rather would ask him, "How is it going to end?"
A while ago, Dunne says, he had a call from a man in Hamburg, Germany, who said he was a racehorse trainer under contract to a Middle Eastern sheik, and that he had information about Chandra Levy. Dunne says the trainer -- or "horse whisperer," as he identified himself, without revealing his name -- said that he and a man who procured women for important individuals in the Middle East and embassies in Washington had seen him on "Larry King Live." Dunne had been speculating to King about the Levy disappearance, but the procurer had said he had it "all wrong." Dunne says the trainer told him the procurer had asserted that an apparently drugged Levy had been put on a private plane by several Middle Eastern men, and then flown out of the country.
Dunne says he got in touch with the private investigator who had been hired by Levy's parents, and that the investigator asked him to come to Washington. By then, Dunne says, he knew the trainer's name. Dunne says he got on the Metroliner the next day, and that the private investigator met him at Union Station and drove him to the Watergate. Coincidentally, he recalls, it was the same day anthrax spores were discovered in Tom Daschle's office.
Dunne says he met five men at the Watergate -- apparently they did not identify themselves -- and that he told them what the trainer had said. Then he returned to New York. One of the men he had met called him afterwards, and said he had learned that the trainer, and presumably the procurer, would be at Newmarket, England, for the running of the Dubai Stakes.
Consequently, Dunne says, he flew to London the following Saturday. He also got in touch with British intelligence, MI-6. It arranged a pass for him, he says, that would get him into the paddock area at Newmarket on the day of the Dubai Stakes. The hope was that the procurer, who would recognize him from his television appearances, would see him there, and speak to him. A nearby operative from MI-6 would watch.
"I felt like a hooker trying to get picked up," Dunne recalls. Nothing happened, however. If the procurer was there, he did not make himself known. Meanwhile, Dunne says, he knew where the trainer was staying, the Rutland Arms, and left six phone messages for him. But the trainer did not reply until the next day.
"He called me at 5 A.M., and he was furious," Dunne says. Although the trainer previously had given him a precise description of the procurer -- 41 years old, upper middle class, wears Savile Row suits, and so on -- he now denied, Dunne says, that he knew his name or where he could be found. Dunne says he argued with him, but to no avail. The trainer refused to be further involved.
Since then, Dunne says, he has told the FBI everything he knows or suspects, and he is no longer involved in the investigation. At the same time, he firmly believes that Condit has never been forthcoming about what he knows. Certainly Dunne does not accuse Condit, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, of having ordered Chandra Levy's abduction, but he notes that Condit wanted to end his relationship with her, and that apparently she wanted it to continue. He wonders, therefore, if someone, perhaps someone the congressmen had met through the Intelligence Committee, thought he might be doing Condit a favor, or putting him in his debt, by arranging the abduction.
But as Dunne says, he is no longer involved in the case, and while he is entirely sympathetic to Susan and Robert Levy, Chandra's parents, he must get on with his other work. Nonetheless he has a pillow on the sofa in the living room of his apartment, and it says on it, "Where is Chandra Levy?"
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