Mr. Condit Returns to Washington

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Mr. Condit returned to Washington Thursday, and his popularity was about as high as Jimmy Stewart's Mr. Smith. But unlike the feel-good Frank Capra movie, this beleaguered congressman is unlikely to get a happy ending.

Whether it's proved to be too much for the scandal-ridden representative might be made clear in a public announcement sources say he might make as early as this week.

Followed by a swarm of cameras and shunned by many in his own party, Gary Condit was still being criticized for not being more forthcoming about his relationship with missing intern Chandra Levy and for an ill-received interview with Connie Chung. Now he may have to struggle to hold on to his seat on the House intelligence committee – and even his own congressional seat.

The post-Census redistricting in California wasn't good for Condit. The congressman faces new congressional boundaries that include some hostile territory and Democrats to whom Condit is a stranger.

And Condit's conundrums don’t end there. He's facing a civil suit from flight attendant Anne Marie Smith, who claims to have had a 10-month affair with the California Democrat. A grand jury was scheduled Thursday to review allegations that Condit obstructed justice when he asked Smith to sign an affidavit stating they didn't have an affair.

In his first television interview, he not only denied the relationship, but he also said Smith was making up the affair for financial gain. But Condit's legal team is squabbling with Smith's lawyers about whether the comments he made merit her suit for defamation of character.

Condit has denied asking anybody to lie, and his attorney, Abbe Lowell, said Smith and the congressman apparently have different definitions of the word "relationship."

A source close to Condit told Fox News that the congressman's attorneys even sent Smith's counsel transcripts of Condit's television appearances to prove that nothing he said is defamatory.

The Stanislaus County Grand Jury was expected to meet Thursday in a hearing to take up unusual allegations made last week by Smith, said Marnie Ardis, the county employee who oversees the grand jury.

The civil grand jury proceedings are normally secret but Ardis said she was willing to confirm the agenda in this case because Smith went public when her lawyer held a news conference on the Stanislaus County courthouse steps when he filed the complaint.

The 19-member panel will decide whether to investigate Smith's claims, or reject her citizen's complaint. The decision won't be released to the public, but if the complaint is rejected, Smith and her lawyer would be notified by letter, Ardis said.

It would still be up to prosecutors to decide whether to pursue a criminal case, and prosecutor Jim Brazelton said Stanislaus County isn't likely to take any action based only on Robinson's legal maneuvers.

After all the blows to his reputation, people are wondering whether Condit won't just throw in the towel. It's a possibility he's seriously considering, but friends and family are suggesting that instead of resigning, he should simply not run again, sources said. And he could announce his intentions this week, sources said.

Condit admitted that he had a romantic relationship with Levy, a 24-year-old intern, only during his third interview with Washington, D.C., police, sources said. Levy has been missing since May 1.