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Police to search abandoned buildings in Levy case

Anne Marie Smith
Smith says Condit should have "told the truth at the beginning."  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Investigators will begin to identify abandoned buildings in northwest Washington Thursday near the apartments of Rep. Gary Condit and missing former intern Chandra Levy, the assistant police chief told CNN Wednesday.

No reason was immediately given, but District of Columbia Assistant Police Chief Terrance Gainer said once the buildings are identified, cadaver dogs will be sent in to sniff out the structures.

The development comes after police conducted an extensive search of Condit's apartment overnight Tuesday and authorities grilled a flight attendant for seven hours Wednesday about an affair she claims she had with the congressman.

CNN's Martin Savidge reports on possible GOP challengers to Condit's Democratic seat (July 11)

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CNN's Jonathan Karl says the controversy surrounding Condit has seeped into his political life (July 11)

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Watch CNN's interview with Washington Police Chief Charles Ramsey (July 11)

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CNN's Jonathan Karl on how the Condit story is playing on Capitol Hill
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The flight attendant, Anne Marie Smith, said following the interview that Condit told her the case of missing former intern Chandra Levy "would probably never go to trial."

Smith said Condit made the statement in order to get her to withhold information about their relationship from authorities. Smith met twice Wednesday with representatives of the U.S. attorney's office at the FBI field office in Washington.

"There were a few things I think they hadn't realized or that they didn't know about," she told Fox News. She refused to elaborate.

There was no immediate comment from Condit's attorneys on Smith's latest statements, which came as police negotiated with Condit's lawyers over a lie detector test and DNA samples as part of the probe into Levy's disappearance. Investigators searched Condit's Washington apartment Tuesday night, but police officials said he is not a suspect in any crime.

Smith, a United Airlines flight attendant, said last week Condit encouraged her to withhold information from the FBI about their alleged sexual affair. Condit, through his attorney, has denied he wanted Smith to mislead authorities investigating the Levy case.

Smith said Condit and one of his attorneys wanted her to sign an affidavit, claiming they were just friends. She said the California Democrat tried to pressure her into signing it by saying things like "don't talk to anyone about this" or "totally keep it a secret."

"Basically, he told me that this case would probably never go to trial, so there was no reason why I should not sign the affidavit," she told Fox.

Condit's San Francisco attorney Joe Cotchett issued a statement last week saying the affidavit submitted to Smith was a draft she was encouraged to edit if she felt it was incorrect.

Smith said she hopes Condit "had nothing to do" with Levy's disappearance. "He's never shown violent tendencies towards me. He's always been very gentle and very nice, very kind," she said.

Levy was last reported seen April 30 at her Washington gym. Attention has focused on Condit, a 53-year-old, married father of two, because Levy's family and law enforcement officials have said the 24-year-old former intern with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons was having an affair with him.

Condit, Smith said, should have been more forthcoming to the public about his relationship with Levy. "It would have helped him immensely if he had just been honest and told the truth at the beginning," she said.

Police look for signs of 'foul play'

Police have repeatedly said Condit was not a suspect and the search of his apartment was not based on any "specific, credible information" regarding her disappearance.

"He may or may not have anything to do with that. That remains to be seen. But certainly we want to explore all possibilities," said D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey.

Ramsey said Tuesday that investigators have asked Condit to sit for a polygraph test administered by the FBI. Wednesday, he said police were still trying to work out arrangements with Condit's lawyers.

"We don't have specific timelines. But hopefully we'll be able to do everything we need to do very, very quickly and again get these samples analyzed, take a look and review the lie detector results and move on," Ramsey told CNN Wednesday.

Authorities have asked three other men to take lie detector tests, police sources said, but it was not immediately clear who they were or what their connection to Levy might be.

Investigators are analyzing material police and FBI personnel removed Tuesday night from Condit's apartment.

Ramsey said investigators were looking for "signs of a struggle, other types of evidence, blood, skin or tissue -- things of that nature that could point to something happening that was unusual and that might all point toward foul play."

Strobe light flashes could be seen through the drawn window shades in Condit's apartment along with the glare of flashlight beams. At one point, all the lights in the apartment went off and a blue iridescent glow could be seen.

The police chief described the search as "pretty standard" and said Condit is just one of roughly 100 people police have interviewed in connection with the case.

A search warrant was not required by police because Condit allowed the search of his apartment as part of what his attorney described as his desire to cooperate in the investigation of the young woman, who has been missing for ten weeks.

The Levy family has publicly questioned Condit's truthfulness and said he has impeded the investigation by not initially disclosing the nature of his relationship with Chandra.

Condit has never publicly described such a relationship. He left his apartment -- staked out by news cameras and reporters -- without saying a word Wednesday.

Police hope to find Levy alive

Gainer, the assistant police chief, said police are still hopeful to find Levy alive.

Condit leaving
Condit leaves his apartment Wednesday morning.  

"She may have committed suicide, she may have left on her own, she may be wandering and not know her own personality and where she is from, or that she has been some victim of some crime," said Gainer.

Gainer also said every one of those theories is being worked by police. He also said they will search landfills, analyze Levy's phone and computer records to narrow their investigation.

"What is going on lately, is that some people have only concentrated on one small but important portion of what we are doing, so we have never not looked for her dead or alive we continue to do that and we are still hopeful that we can find her alive," he said.

A former classmate and friend of Levy's described her as an upbeat, ambitious young woman who had her feet on the ground. He told CNN knew nothing about her romantic life. but said he would not expect to because she was a private person.

-- CNN National Correspondents Bob Franken and Martin Savidge contributed to this report.

• Rep. Gary Condit
• Washington D.C. police

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