Published July 04, 2001
WASHINGTON – Rep. Gary Condit said he might be "in trouble" and have to "disappear for a while" shortly after Chandra Levy vanished, says the woman who also told Fox News she was asked to lie about her year-long affair with the California congressman.
"He called me approximately May 5 or 6 saying, 'I'm going to have to disappear for a while, don't call me,'" flight attendant Anne Marie Smith said in an exclusive interview on Monday. "I said, 'Well, are you in trouble? Is it your job? Is it your family?' And he said, 'No, none of that, but I think I may be in some trouble.'"
Smith said that when she finally got in touch with Condit, to tell him that she had been contacted by the FBI, he did not respond well.
"I said, I have been contacted by this agency, and I want you to know and I said, you know, it was just a routine questioning, they said they would keep my name confidential," she said.
"He was really upset with me, he said, 'Oh, I see how you are, I see what you're doing.' And I said, 'No, you know, I've never been in a situation like this.' ... He said 'You don't have to talk to the media, you don't have to talk to anybody. You don't even have to talk to the FBI.'"
Condit's office on Tuesday issued a two-sentence statement denying he told anyone not to discuss the Levy case with investigators.
"I have repeatedly urged anyone who has any information that could help police find Chandra Levy to come forward, tell all they know, and be as forthcoming as possible," the statement read.
I have not asked anyone to refrain from discussing this matter with authorities, nor have I suggested anyone mislead the authorities."
Smith reportedly told the FBI she ended the romantic relationship with Condit when she saw press reports about Levy, a source close to the woman told Fox News.
Smith also said Condit told her he was "lonely in Washington," with his chronically ill wife spending 99 percent of her time in California.
In the same interview, first reported on the Fox News Channel Monday night, Smith also said the congressman asked her to sign a declaration denying their relationship, and told her she did not need to talk to the FBI following Levy's disappearance.
Smith told Fox News she refused to sign the draft of a declaration that was submitted by Condit attorneys to her lawyers, and insisted the California Democrat knew the document was a lie.
"Mr. Condit knew it was false and he was asking me to sign it and, I personally could never have signed it," Smith said in an interview on Monday. "I would never have signed it. And he was urging me to sign it, he said you don't want anything, this could be personally embarrassing for both of us."
Smith's lawyers on Monday evening supplied Fox News with a copy of what they said was a draft of the declaration. They said the document contained a note written by Don Thornton, an investigator who works with Condit's West Coast attorney.
Jim Robinson, Smith's attorney, claims to have had a phone conversation with Thornton in which the latter referred to the form as an "affidavit." Robinson says the document is indeed an affidavit, as opposed to a declaration, since it is composed of the specialized vocabulary of the legal profession called legalese.
In a statement released Tuesday, Condit lawyer Joseph W. Cotchett said it was Robinson who had requested the "draft statement" to set the record straight about Condit and Smith's relationship. Later, Smith declined to sign the statement, saying it was a "personal matter" that "she didn't want to get involved in any further," he said.
And while he didn't outright deny an affair between Condit and Smith, Cotchett said that he had spoken with her, and she'd said the relationship had been exaggerated.
"She indicated it was totally out of proportion and that her roomates were paid by the Star to talk about her," the statement read. "She was very cordial, but also very, very embarrassed."
Smith, 39, also said she knew the California Democrat was married and suspected he might be seeing someone else, but she didn't know for sure.
Levy, a 24-year-old California native who had just finished an internship at the Bureau of Prisons, was last seen on April 30. She came from Modesto, Calif., Condit's congressional district.
Condit, 53 and married, has repeatedly said through public statements he and Levy were only good friends. In an interview with D.C. police investigating her disappearance, he strongly hinted the two had been lovers, sources have told Fox News.
Condit told investigators be broke off the friendship only two days before she disappeared, according to Fox News police sources.
When Condit broke with Levy with the explanation she was moving back to California, she was distraught, refusing to take no for an answer and even becoming obsessed with him, sources said. Levy called Condit several times on a special line in the 24 hours before she vanished, but he never returned those calls, the sources said.
But Condit's chief of staff, Mike Lynch, said last week Condit didn't even remotely discuss a relationship or a breakup during the police interview.
Levy's parents, Susan and Robert Levy of Modesto, Calif., have hired former Washington homicide detectives to scour their daughter's Washington studio apartment for fibers, love letters, notes and any other clues that could help them find out what happened to their daughter, who has not been seen since April 30.
Fox News' Mike Emmanuel contributed to this report.