A former Fort Detrick scientist that the FBI has labeled a "person of interest" in last year's fatal anthrax attacks is expected to respond to the ongoing investigation for the first time Sunday.
Steven Hatfill is one of a group of scientists FBI officials have been investigating for months in the probe of the anthrax letter attacks that left five people dead and at least 13 others ill last fall. Investigators searched Hatfill's home earlier this month and in June.
He has been described by authorities as a "person of interest," not a suspect, and until now has declined to speak out.
"He is going to review the history of his dealings with the authorities relative to the ongoing anthrax investigation and explain the nature of his cooperation," attorney Victor M. Glasberg told The Associated Press Friday.
"He is going to deliver a statement that is very powerful and personal," Pat Clawson, a spokesman for Hatfill and Glasberg told ABCNEWS.com.
Clawson described Hatfill as a private person who was not used to dealing with the media, and said the statement would be the only time he addresses the press. He said that Hatfill's statement would put the reports that have surfaced about the scientist in "another very different light."
Law enforcement officials told ABCNEWS that the latest search of Hatfill's property, conducted Aug. 1, followed newly uncovered information. FBI agents also searched a rental storage shed in Ocala, Fla., that had been rented by Hatfill, as well as at least one other location. The shed had also been previously searched by officials investigating the anthrax attacks.
Hatfill has denied that he had anything at all to do with the anthrax attacks and consented to the June search in an effort to clear his name. He said he understood his background and controversial comments made him a logical subject of the investigation. Following the first search, agents said they found nothing immediately incriminating in Hatfill's apartment and storage shed.
Intrigued by Background and Demonstrations
Hatfill has worked closely with the military and CIA anthrax experts and has frequently shocked his colleagues with his statements and demonstrations of how easily terrorists could make biological weapons, sources said.
ABCNEWS has also reported that investigators are intrigued by the fact that Hatfill lived for years near a Greendale Elementary School while attending medical school in Zimbabwe. Greendale School was the phony return address used in the anthrax letters.
In 1999, Hatfill commissioned a study detailing how a hypothetical anthrax attack could be carried out by mail.
Hatfill lost his government security clearance last year, for reasons that remain unclear.
Since the wave of attacks, the FBI has been unable to find out who was behind the anthrax-laced letters. There have been few leads and investigators have admitted that the trail seemed to have grown cold.
Fort Detrick, which also is home to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, has anthrax samples, and the FBI is conducting voluntary lie detector tests at the base. Lie detector tests and interviews are also being conducted at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where researchers have been developing a powdered form of anthrax for testing biological defense systems.
Small quantities of anthrax have routinely been produced at Dugway, and then shipped to the Army's bio-defense center at Fort Detrick, Army officials have said. ABCNEWS' Pierre Thomas and Brian Ross contributed to this report.