My Word for July 12, 2001

More than a few letter writers have pasted me for saying I thought the D.C. police were on the verge of stumbling into the O.J. zone — that area of police life where considerations other than solving the crime come into play, and evidence is missed or left out in the weather to degrade … or prime suspects are allowed time to cover their tracks.

The D.C. police are, after all, funded by the U.S. Congress, and have a reputation for giving members of Congress a bit more slack than they might give others.

I wondered why the police hadn't searched Condit's apartment earlier. And more than a few e-mailers said I was wrong, there was no probable cause for Condit to be a suspect and therefore, no grounds to search his apartment.

That's true as long as the cops didn't declare Levy to be a probable murder victim, and didn't declare him to be a suspect … as long as they were going to hide from the crime by saying there was no evidence of a crime.

The evidence of a crime goes like this: the woman is missing, she wouldn't go missing on her own, and her current lover had pressing reasons to hide the affair if she were going to make it public. Not to mention the National Enquirer report cops know she was pregnant.
In my world, that adds up to suspicion enough.

Is that judging the congressman to be guilty? No. In fact, you could say it is taking the action necessary to clear him and move on to others more likely as suspects, if there are any.

But even if Condit is totally cleared, this is not a guy who is going to go before the cameras to slam the media by asking where do I go to get my reputation back?

This is a guy who may not be guilty of murder or kidnap, but his reputation is shot, and it is shot correctly, by the revelation of the facts of his personal life.

Congressmen have no business initiating affairs with interns. It's Washington's dirty little secret and now that Condit has been busted, all those other 50-year-olds yearning for the office intern can see how bad this stuff can get. Maybe the best course for a congressman with Spring fever is a cold shower.

In that sense, Condit has served the country well.

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