HER 15 MINUTES OF FAME stretched into two weeks. But Seattle flight attendant Anne Marie Smith insists that's enough.
The curvy, copper-red-haired ex-Congressional mistress told all to the Justice Department and a hungry media last week about her affair with U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, as well as the little she knew about his affair with missing D.C. intern Chandra Levy, 24.
Then Smith, 39, a San Francisco-based United Airlines stewardess who met the 53-year-old Condit during a flight to D.C., ended her affair with the public as abruptly as she ended her 10-month fling with the California congressman. Her repeat appearance on Larry King Live last Friday was her final interview, she claimed. Smith hasn't spoken with her former lover since early May, about the time Levy disappeared. She now believes the seven-term lawmaker from Modesto has not told all he knows about Levy's 80-day disappearance. She also doubts the worth of a privately administered polygraph test that Condit used to proclaim his innocence as D.C. police continued to look for Levy's remains this week. Condit never told her about his tandem affair with Levy, Smith says, but she had suspicions.
Smith says Condit claimed he had a marriage of convenience with his California wife, so she was agreeable to a doubly undercover affair. "He'd always wear sunglasses and a hat when we went out," says Smith, who sometimes slipped out the back door of Condit's apartment after their assignations. The legislator made the laws. "I would say, 'I think I'm going up to Seattle this weekend,'" Smith says, "and he would call me and say, 'Well, you know, I'm going to be in San Francisco tomorrow . . .' and then he wouldn't show up."
As pressure from the Levy case grew, Condit asked Smith to sign an affidavit claiming they were just friends. Instead, after her San Francisco roommate spilled Smith's story to the tabloid Star for $2,500, she took the offensive, first in a Fox TV interview in Seattle. As others jumped on the story, attorney Jim Robinson initially felt he and Smith were under siege at home awaiting the Fox interview. "I immediately called the Seattle police [and] told them what my problem was," says Robinson. "I didn't ask for any help. I was implying that I needed help, and they sent 12 officers to my house at two in the morning."
Robinson has known Smith 12 years and represents her pro bono. He says she turned down more than $50,000 from the tabloids for an exclusive. Despite her "other woman" distinction, Smith has few regrets. And in case any of the congressman's other mistresses were listening and "are afraid to come forward or have been threatened in any way," she said on her umpteenth TV visit, "I encourage them from the bottom of my heart to come forward . . . the truth will make you safe" . . . from your elected officials.
Rick Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org