- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2001

Investigators in the Chandra Levy case yesterday found no signs of a struggle or any obvious incriminating evidence in an early morning search of Rep. Gary A. Condit's apartment, which had been cleaned beforehand, law enforcement sources told The Washington Times.
D.C. police and FBI agents did not expect to find anything that would make or break the missing persons case, and the key data will arrive in two to four weeks when experts conclude DNA tests on blood and other evidence recovered from the California Democrat's Adams Morgan apartment, the sources said.
During a four-hour search of Mr. Condit's fourth-floor apartment in the 2600 block of Adams Mill Road NW, crime-scene technicians took samples from one drop of blood in plain sight in the bathroom and from specks detected with special equipment in the living room, one source said.
The sources characterized the blood as "very minimal" or the size of "pin drops."
One law enforcement source remarked on the absence of a computer in the apartment and the cleanliness of the residence. "It has been cleaned all over and was pretty neat," the source said.
Mr. Condit, 53, and his wife, Carolyn, were present, and both were polite and kept mostly to themselves, a law enforcement source said, adding that they appeared tired. The source said Mr. Condit's attorney, Abbe Lowell, repeatedly challenged the search team and refused to let them take a pair of pants that had a red stain.
Mr. Lowell became angry when one technician — in an episode broadcast on television — cut a piece out of the venetian blinds because of specks "that might possibly be blood," the source said.
Investigators conducted the search without a warrant early yesterday after accepting Mr. Lowell's offer on Wednesday to examine Mr. Condit's apartment, conduct a lie-detector test on the congressman, collect DNA samples and interview his Capitol Hill staff.
Police have not charged Mr. Condit with a crime and have said he is not a suspect in Miss Levy's disappearance.
Meanwhile yesterday, flight attendant Anne Marie Smith met with federal prosecutors and FBI agents at the agency's Washington Field Office as part of a probe into whether Mr. Condit tampered with a witness or suborned perjury in his dealings with her.
Miss Smith, 39, last week said Mr. Condit urged her not to talk with the FBI and his representatives tried to persuade her to sign a false affidavit denying their 10-month affair. Mr. Condit and his attorneys have disputed her assertions.
A spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington Field Office yesterday confirmed that Miss Smith was at the building, but she said she could not provide any other details. Miss Smith left the building by a rear exit about 2 p.m., avoiding a phalanx of reporters.
Police and FBI officials have refused to discuss details of the case, and would not say what was recovered from Mr. Condit's apartment.
The forensic search team yesterday concentrated on finding blood — which could indicate foul play — and not semen or hair samples, the law enforcement sources said, adding that one black hair about three to four inches long was found. No semen was discovered, one source said.
The evidence was to be sent to the FBI's forensic lab yesterday or today, and DNA results could be available as early as two weeks, a source said. "None of this means anything unless there's a match," the source said.
Detectives will check the DNA results from the apartment against that of Mr. Condit, Miss Levy, her parents and others involved with the case.
Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer yesterday said he and other police officials are working with Mr. Lowell on the details of conducting a lie-detector test on Mr. Condit and collecting DNA samples from him.
Mr. Condit, whose district includes Miss Levy's hometown of Modesto, Calif., consented to the search after pressure mounted from police and Miss Levy's parents over his lack of cooperation.
Mr. Lowell set several conditions for authorities to search the apartment, a law enforcement source said. Investigators had to wear plainclothes and not bring the Mobile Crime Lab's large truck, instead using less-conspicuous vehicles so as not to further sully the congressman's image.
Billy Martin, the attorney for the Levy family, said they have asked for Mr. Condit to undergo a lie-detector test without any conditions. He said he has written to Mr. Lowell asking that Mr. Condit take the test but has not received a response.
"Once again the matter is, he is saying he is cooperating," Mr. Martin said. "When we asked for one there were no conditions placed on it. Now it is up to the congressman to speak up and tell the complete truth."
Marina Ein, a spokeswoman for Mr. Lowell, did not return a telephone message from The Washington Times asking why Mr. Condit has not yet submitted to a lie-detector test.
D.C. police want FBI polygraph experts to administer the test. They want to ask Mr. Condit a variety of questions but are seeking detailed answers about his relationship with Miss Levy, the last time and place he saw her, and her state of mind, according to law enforcement sources.
Authorities also want to check his replies against his answers in previous interviews, the sources said. But Mr. Lowell is trying to set a list of limited questions Mr. Condit will answer, sources familiar with the ongoing negotiations told The Times.
Mr. Condit admitted to investigators Friday that he had had an affair with Miss Levy after having denied a romantic relationship since she was reported missing in early May, according to police sources. Miss Levy, who interned at the Bureau of Prisons, was last seen April 30.
Tuesday night, authorities tried to dodge the media when they went to Mr. Condit's apartment, waiting until 11:15 p.m. — too late for most news broadcasts — to enter. The search team included one FBI agent, one police detective and four crime-scene technicians — three officers and one sergeant — from the department's mobile crime lab.
Around 2:15 a.m. yesterday, officials turned off the overhead lights in the congressman's apartment and began using ultraviolet-light technology that picks up the natural fluorescence of bodily fluids like semen and blood.
The forensic experts, dressed in polo shirts and T-shirts, looked sweaty and tired as they emerged from the building. They returned with only a few things. They unloaded three medium-sized metal briefcases, three plastic cases that looked like oversize tackle boxes, a one-gallon water jug, a small plastic grocery bag, a small paper bag, a box of plastic gloves, and a stack of flat items wrapped in brown paper into one of the car's trunks.
* Jim Keary, M. Douglas O'Malley and Jerry Seper contributed to this report.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide