Box in Trash Spurs Levy Probe

By Allan Lengel and Bill Miller
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 22, 2002

MODESTO, Calif., July 21 -- Prosecutors investigating the disappearance of Chandra Levy are trying to determine whether a watch case apparently deposited in a trash can by Rep. Gary A. Condit may have been part of an attempted coverup, law enforcement sources said today.

Investigators plan to interview people to find out more about the watch box, sources said, but they cautioned that it was too early to reach conclusions.

Law enforcement sources said that police retrieved a case that had been deposited in a trash can in an Alexandria park, and that it had been placed there in the hours before Condit's Adams Morgan apartment was searched by police about 10 days ago. One source said Condit apparently was trying to hide an affair with a woman from California to whom the box has been traced. The woman has not been identified.

Marina Ein, a spokeswoman for Condit, declined to comment today on the watch case. "It's not been our practice to comment on matters not related to the Chandra Levy investigation," she said.

The U.S. attorney's office also is looking into allegations by a flight attendant that an investigator working for a California lawyer who represented Condit pressured her to sign a false affidavit denying that she had had an affair with the congressman. Anne Marie Smith, who has said she was romantically involved with Condit for nearly a year, also has said that the congressman suggested that she didn't have to cooperate with authorities. Smith spoke to prosecutors and other investigators for about nine hours over two days this month.

Also today, Terrance W. Gainer, executive assistant chief of police, said that officials are in discussions with Abbe D. Lowell, Condit's attorney in Washington, about the possibility that the congressman would take a second polygraph. Condit took a privately administered polygraph, or lie detector test, about 10 days ago, and Lowell said he passed it. But D.C. police have dismissed the results of the test, saying it has "no investigative value" partly because authorities can't match specific questions to the graphs that show the congressman's reaction.

Gainer reiterated today that police are interested in interviewing Condit (D-Calif.) for a fourth time in connection with the Levy investigation. But he said no arrangements have been made.

A fourth interview is "premature, but probably inevitable," Gainer said.

Also today, six D.C. police detectives met with about 200 taxi drivers near Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, hoping to learn whether Levy, 24, may have taken a cab soon before she disappeared. Police said it didn't appear that they came up with any significant leads in questioning the drivers, who had called the meeting at a parking lot at the stadium to discuss taxi regulations.

Levy, a recent U.S. Bureau of Prisons intern, was last seen in downtown Washington on April 30. Police say they are investigating her disappearance as a missing-persons case and not as a crime. As a result, they say, they have no suspects.

Staff writer Petula Dvorak contributed to this report. Miller reported from Washington.

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