- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2004

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A woman who has been the subject of rumors linking her to Sen. John Kerry denied yesterday that she ever had an affair with the Democratic presidential candidate.

Breaking her silence four days after the accusations surfaced on the Internet, Alexandra Polier issued a statement to the Associated Press saying, “I have never had a relationship with Senator Kerry, and the rumors in the press are completely false.”

The Massachusetts senator already has denied reports that he had an extramarital affair. Yesterday, his campaign said he would have no further comment.

Miss Polier’s statement was released to the AP in Nairobi, where the 27-year-old free-lance journalist is visiting the parents of her fiance, Yaron Schwartzman, an Israeli who was raised in Kenya. She previously worked as an editorial assistant for the AP in New York.

“Whoever is spreading these rumors and allegations does not know me,” Ms. Polier said, appealing to the media to respect her privacy and the privacy of her fiance and his family.

Miss Polier also took issue with reports that referred to her as a former Kerry intern.

“I never interned or worked for John Kerry,” she told the AP by telephone.

In a separate statement, Miss Polier’s parents, Terry and Donna Polier of Malvern, Pa., dismissed the “completely false and unsubstantiated” accusations about their daughter.

“We love and support her 100 percent, and these unfounded rumors are hurtful to our entire family,” the statement said. “We appreciate the way Senator Kerry has handled the situation and intend on voting for him for president of the United States.”

The statement did not address purported quotes by Miss Polier’s parents in the British tabloid London Sun that were harshly critical of Mr. Kerry. In the interview, Mr. Polier reportedly stated: “I think he’s [Kerry] a sleazeball.”

Mr. Kerry has won 14 of 16 Democratic primaries and caucuses, and is expected to be the Democratic challenger to President Bush in November.

Rumors of a relationship between Mr. Kerry and Miss Polier first appeared Thursday on the Internet and were picked up by newspapers in several countries outside the United States. Few U.S. publications printed her name, however.

Asked Friday about the reports, Mr. Kerry told reporters: “I just deny it categorically. It’s rumor. It’s untrue. And that’s the last time I intend to respond to questions about it.”

Regarding her silence until now, Miss Polier said, “Because these stories were false, I assumed the media would ignore them. It seems that efforts to peddle these lies continue, so I feel compelled to address them.”

By yesterday, reporters and photographers were camped outside the Schwartzmans’ Nairobi home, and at one point, pursued the car of Yaron’s mother, Hannah Schwartzman, as she left the walled compound.

Miss Polier and Mr. Schwartzman met at Columbia University. They arrived in Kenya last October.

Miss Polier graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., in 1999. She received her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia in 2003.

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