The lawyer for Anne Marie Smith, the flight attendant who says she had an affair with embattled Rep. Gary Condit, asked a grand jury Monday to indict the congressman on charges that he tried to coerce the woman into denying they had an affair.
Attorney James Robinson submitted a citizen complaint Monday directly to a Stanislaus County grand jury in an unusual legal procedure.
Marina Ein, Condit's spokeswoman, said, "Today's events are yet another example of the tabloidization of this tragedy. Nothing that happened today will advance the cause of helping to find Chandra."
Robinson also hoped to meet personally with the foreman of the grand jury and county prosecutor Jim Brazelton to urge them to bring perjury and obstruction of justice charges against Condit; his chief of staff, Mike Lynch; and Don Thornton, an investigator for a California lawyer who has represented Condit.
Condit, D-Calif., is already under intense criticism at home and in Washington for his responses to questions about his relationship with missing intern Chandra Levy, including an appearance in a nationally televised interview with ABC's Connie Chung.
Gov. Gray Davis added himself to the list of critics Monday, for the first time publicly addressing Condit's troubles.
"I am disheartened that Congressman Condit did not speak out more quickly or more fully," said Davis.
He noted that the two have been friends and political allies for years and that two of Condit's children work for Davis.
Under the citizen complaint procedure, the grand jury could undertake its own investigation, bypassing law enforcement and prosecutors.
"I would love to have a grand jury investigate" whether Condit had anything to do with Levy's disappearance, Robinson said.
However, it would still be up to prosecutors to decide whether to pursue a criminal case, and Brazelton said Stanislaus County isn't likely to take any action based only on Robinson's legal maneuvers.
"My office is not driven by the political process," Brazelton said. He said he would weigh the case like any other citizen complaint.
Added Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley: "If he wants criminal action taken, he needs to go to the law enforcement agencies in whose jurisdiction the acts happened, and they will investigate. If there's a crime, they will forward it to us and we'll decide if we'll pursue a criminal case."
Robinson said he approached Stanislaus County authorities because Lynch and Thornton allegedly called Smith from the county seat of Modesto.
He said calls to Smith also were made from San Francisco and San Mateo counties and he could pursue charges there.
Smith says she and Condit had a 10-month affair. After Levy disappeared, she says, Condit called her several times and asked her to sign a statement denying they had an affair.
In a series of interviews last week, Condit said he never had an affair with Smith and never asked her to sign a statement.
"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," he said on ABC.
Federal officials have questioned Smith twice as part of their preliminary criminal investigation to determine whether Condit obstructed the investigation of Levy's disappearance.
Joleen McKay, a former Condit aide, also has spoken to investigators about her allegations that she had an affair with Condit and that Condit aides tried to pressure her to remain silent about it.
Condit ended a nearly four-month public silence and agreed to a series of print and broadcast interviews last week. He repeatedly declined to provide details about the nature of his relationship with Levy, a 24-year-old from Modesto who disappeared May 1.
Condit's reluctance to discuss the topic brought harsh criticism from many constituents and some Democratic colleagues before Davis spoke Monday -- most notably House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo. Gephardt said Condit was not candid and forward, and raised the possibility of removing the congressman from the House Intelligence Committee.
On Monday, Gephardt spokesman Erik Smith said the minority leader would talk to Democratic colleagues about Condit when they return from vacation next week and then decide whether to take any action.
Abbe Lowell, Condit's attorney, attempted to stem criticism Sunday. He said the congressman's aides misled the media when, soon after Levy disappeared, they denied an affair between Condit and Levy. Lowell said the aides spoke without authorization from Condit and that he then told them to say no more about his relationship with Levy.
Lowell also said that since Condit had spoken out there's no reason for him to be removed from the Intelligence Committee because "he can't be blackmailed anymore."
Levy met the 53-year-old Condit, who is married and represents Modesto, while in Washington for an internship at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Her relatives say she told them she was having an affair with Condit.
Condit was interviewed about Levy four times by investigators. During the third interview, he acknowledged an affair, according to a police source.
Police say Condit is not a suspect in the disappearance, but have criticized him for not being more forthcoming earlier about his relationship with Levy.
Fox News' Rita Cosby and the Associated Press contributed to this report