- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 28, 2001

The attorney for a flight attendant who claims a 10-month affair with Rep. Gary A. Condit wants a grand jury to indict the seven-term Democrat on charges he suborned perjury and obstructed justice in an effort to get the woman to lie about their relationship.

James Robinson, who represents Anne Marie Smith, yesterday leveled the accusations against Mr. Condit; his chief of staff, Mike Lynch; and an investigator, Don Thornton, in a rare citizen's complaint submitted directly to the Stanislaus County grand jury in Modesto, Calif.

Mr. Robinson also has requested a meeting with Stanislaus County District Attorney James Brazelton to discuss a possible indictment.

"I would love to have the grand jury investigate this case," said Mr. Robinson, who also has threatened a lawsuit against Mr. Condit for "defamation, libel and slander" over what he called the congressman's lies about Miss Smith during recent media interviews.

"He said some very terrible things about my client, and I have to take legal action," said Mr. Robinson. "He certainly defamed my client … he slandered her, he libeled her, all of the above. We have several causes of action."

Miss Smith said she had a 10-month sexual relationship with Mr. Condit, who is married, which ended about the same time former intern Chandra Levy disappeared.

Miss Smith said she and Mr. Condit "spent a lot of time together," including meetings at San Francisco hotels and his Washington condominium.

Miss Smith said Mr. Condit asked her on several occasions to sign a statement denying the affair. She said the pressure on her to sign the statement began after questions were raised about Mr. Condit's relationship with Miss Levy. She said she refused to sign and went to authorities.

"I didn't ask anyone to lie about anything," Mr. Condit said during an ABC interview. "I did not ask Anne Marie not to cooperate with law enforcement. That's an absolute lie."

Federal authorities have interviewed Miss Smith on at least two occasions concerning the accusations.

While the grand jury can begin its own investigation, most grand jury matters originate with prosecutors. Mr. Brazelton said he would consider the accusations "like any other citizen complaint" but would not be driven by "the political process."

Spokesmen for Mr. Condit yesterday had no comment on the complaint — the latest turn in a growing legal and public relations scandal surrounding the congressman.

Mr. Condit also has denied accusations by a former employee, Joleen Argentini McKay, that they had an affair spanning several years.

Miss McKay said she stayed at his Washington apartment for most of the eight months she lived in the District in 1994.

Miss Levy, 24, had been expected to return to her home in California on May 9 to attend her graduation from college.

Since September 2000, she had been living in the District while working as an intern for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

During his ABC interview, Mr. Condit denied the affair with Miss Smith and accused her of seeking financial gain from Miss Levy's disappearance. He also denied knowing anything of Miss Levy's whereabouts.

Mr. Condit has since backed off of a blanket denial of the affair. In a follow-up interview, he did not dispute Miss Smith's claim of an affair but parsed the meaning of the word "relationship."

"In my opinion, we did not have a relationship," Mr. Condit told Newsweek. "It would probably be her definition of a relationship versus mine."

Meanwhile, Mr. Condit's overall performance in the ABC television interview has roundly been criticized by Democrats, including House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, who said Mr. Condit may lose his post on the House intelligence committee, and Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who said Democrats might "carve up" his congressional district to prevent his re-election.

Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, yesterday again asked the House ethics committee to begin an investigation of Mr. Condit. He said, in a statement, Mr. Condit was "unfit to hold public office," adding that he "lied, evaded and obstructed justice during the most serious of matters, where a young woman's life could be at stake."

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