Condit Faces Possible Coercion Charge
A new problem seems to have arisen for embattled California Congressman Gary Condit, who's encountered a firestorm of protests regarding his tight-lipped interviews -- with PEOPLE and with Connie Chung on ABC -- regarding his relationship with missing intern Chandra Levy. James Robinson, the lawyer for flight attendant Anne Marie Smith, says that he will ask a grand jury to indict Condit, 53, on charges that the congressman tried to coerce Smith into denying they had an affair. Smith had gone public with her claim that she and the lawmaker had had a 10-month-long affair. (After Levy's disappearance, said Smith, Condit called her several times and requested that she sign a statement denying they had an affair.) Speaking to Chung during Thursday's interview, Condit denied the relationship, saying, "I didn't ask anyone to lie about anything. I did not ask Anne Marie not to cooperate with law enforcement. That's an absolute lie." As he told PEOPLE about Smith: "She does this for her own publicity." Robinson told news sources over the weekend that on Monday he was planning to meet with the foreman of the Stanislaus County, Calif., grand jury to seek the indictment of Condit; his chief of staff, Mike Lynch; and Don Thornton, an investigator for a California lawyer who has represented Condit. There has been no comment from the Condit camp on Robinson's statement. Meanwhile, in a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, three-quarters of those Americans interviewed said that they believe Condit is immoral, and nearly that many -- seven out of every 10 people -- think that he lied during his ABC interview.
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