Police were today searching across America for possible ex-lovers of embattled congressman Gary Condit.
Mr Condit denies having anything to do with the disappearance of 24-year-old intern Chandra Levy, with whom he had an affair about which he lied for two months after she went missing at the end of April.
Today police were trying to find women who may have had affairs with the married 53-year-old politician to find out if he pressured them to deny their liaisons, it was reported.
Detectives in California and Washington DC were also interviewing at least six women who say they had affairs with Mr Condit, the congressman for Modesto, California, Chandra’s home town.
The interviews comes after one of his ex-lovers, San Francisco air stewardess Anne Marie Smith, told the FBI Mr Condit put her under pressure to deny their affair after Chandra went missing by signing a false sworn statement.
Ms Smith and her lawyers spent two days being interviewed by the FBI, detectives and prosecutors, who were deciding whether to put Mr Condit under a criminal investigation which could lead to charges of obstructing justice.
Other women who may have been among Mr Condit’s mistresses are also being sought to see if they came under similar pressure, law enforcement sources said.
The move comes after police slammed a lie detector test which Mr Condit commissioned himself and then passed, as ‘‘theatrical’’ and part of ‘‘a game’’.
During the test, the father-of-two was asked three key questions: ‘‘Did you harm Chandra Levy?; Do you know where Chandra Levy is; Did you ask someone else to harm Chandra Levy?
He replied ‘‘no’’ to each and was recorded as being truthful by the ex-FBI expert who administered the test, Mr Condit’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, claimed as he revealed the test had taken place.
The lawyer claimed Mr Condit should now be left alone because the politician had ‘‘answered every question placed to him’’.
But Mr Lowell refused to say if Mr Condit had practiced for the test, which is not admissible in court as evidence, and which the lawyer had previously said was ‘‘unreliable’’.
And Washington Assistant Police Chief Terry Gainer dismissed the result and said detectives wanted the FBI to administer the polygraph test.
The police officer said: ‘‘We understand the theatricals, we understand his tactics, but I think it is a little disingenuous.
‘‘Obviously they have their own game plan, and I emphasise a game, and frankly we are a little tired of it.
‘‘I really think there has to be some give and take between investigators and polygraph administrators for it to be meaningful.’’
The man in charge of police in Washington also dismissed the lawyer’s claims.
Police Chief Charles Ramsey said: ‘‘He had a very upbeat and very bright portrayal of the openness and honesty of the congressman.
‘‘I would not paint quite as rosy a picture as that.’’
Mr Condit has refused to tell his constituents or colleagues why he lied about his affair with the intern and has come under increasing pressure to quit his seat in the wake of the revelations about his sex life.
And last night Chandra’s parents wept as they told America’s Most Wanted, the country’s equivalent of Crimewatch, of their ordeal since their daughter was last seen on April 30.
Robert Levy told the programme: ‘‘We are crying and yelling and weeping and mourning.
‘‘We cannot do it all the time any more because it doesn’t help. You have to go back to some kind of normal life because you want to get to the bottom of it.’’