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Actual Malice - Conyers to Condit: You're Being Setup on Levy Case

by Jeff Powers, published

The explosive FoxNews report that retired Rep. John Conyers, who stepped down on the heels of allegations of sexual misconduct, had "inside info" into the disappearance and murder of former federal intern Chandra Levy is not news to attorney and author Breton Peace or former Rep. Gary Condit.

The two collaborated on the true crime political thriller "Actual Malice" that was released last year and centers on the Chandra Levy case and the false implications that Gary Condit had anything to do with her disappearance and murder.

Following the Conyers story on FoxNews, Breton Peace told IVN, "In the beginning of the investigation, John Conyers summoned Gary Condit to his congressional office and told Gary he was hearing that Gary was being set up."

This is documented on page 84 of Actual Malice, available at

That Conyers conveyed this information to Condit was troubling enough, but the fact Conyers was head of the Judiciary Committee raised a host of questions.

In the interview with IVN Peace noted, “In writing the book it was tragic the amount of incompetence and corruption in law enforcement. In fact, the DOJ acknowledged prosecutors couldn’t re-convict M13 gang member Ingmar Guandique for Levy’s murder because the original investigation was so wrong on so many levels. They apologized to Gary, but I’m not sure an apology from the DOJ, the law enforcement group that tried to frame you for murder is worth much to the Condit family or to anyone, really. As far as Gary’s concerned the people responsible should be held to justice, but he also realizes now that the only institution inside the US Government that is immune to accountability and justice is the DOJ."

Peace mentioned that when Guandique’s 2010 conviction for Levy’s murder was overturned because of mistakes by the US Attorney’s Office, he was told by FBI and DOJ officials that they think DOJ decided to dismiss the re-trial and deport Guandique to El Salvador, in part, because a new trial would require DOJ to confront two things they hadn’t in the past. Peace said, "First, this time they’d have to confront the incompetence and corruption of the original investigation rather than rely on jail house confessions and second, Guandique’s lawyers would hammer the DOJ on the mistakes in the original trial including the fact that US Attorney Amanda Haines was then under internal investigation. In other words, the DOJ’s decision to dismiss was at least to some degree made to save its own face and people inside it. That’s wrong and tragic on a lot of levels and for a lot of victims."


“For a year and a half Gary knew about corruption in law enforcement. People inside the DOJ were leaking to him warnings that things weren’t right.” - Actual Malice

According to Peace, corruption concerns were highlighted by conversations Gary had with folks like retired Rep. Conyers. In another conversation, Rebecca Cooper, then with ABC News, told Condit that Andrea Mitchell, a reporter with NBC News, relayed to her that members of the Metropolitan Police Department led by Terrance Gainer were bragging about putting Condit in jail. Cooper called Gary to warn him.

Those early, and inaccurate whispers, became the basis for the full-fledged scandal that engulfed Condit's congressional seat.


The Chandra Levy scandal broke on the heels of the Bill Clinton sex scandal. At that time the Congressional Black Caucus supported Bill Clinton but as for Gary Condit, the Caucus refused to get involved saying "they weren't going to get out in front of a sex issue a second time."

At the time, Rep. Conyers at a news conference said, "every time an elected official waxes pious, you find out that his closet is full of skeletons."

MARCH 6, 2002

On the night of Gary’s election defeat he told the press, “There are some things in life that happen to you that you just can’t explain.”

Breton Peace says that was a loaded statement from Condit, who had records that established corruption inside law enforcement but no recourse in 2001.

Peace said, "I think that was Gary’s way of saying some really bad stuff went on that he knew about but if he talked about it then people would think he was seeing black helicopters. It’s much less Hollywood than that – but it’s also much more sinister, damaging and wrong.”


Actual Malice  was released in 2016.

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