Lawyer handles Smith's PR in Condit saga

WASHINGTON: The Gary Condit saga has made Marina Ein a household

name.



Porter Novelli has received widespread notoriety for its work on behalf

of the Levy family. But don't expect Anne Marie Smith, the flight

attendant who was asked to deny her alleged affair with Condit, to be

hiring PR counsel anytime soon.



Smith's attorney Jim Robinson insisted he would be handling all Smith's

media relations himself, estimating the press inquiries at "about one

per minute."



Asked by PRWeek if he would hire a special spokesperson for his client,

Robinson bristled, "I got approached by a PR guy last night, and all he

did was tick me off. That's what I think of PR guys."



Robinson also chastised Ein and Abbe Lowell, Condit's attorney, for

their handling of the California Congressman's situation. "I think

they're horrible, and I hope they keep doing what they're doing," he

said, suggesting that their maneuvering had made his own client a more

sympathetic figure in the public eye. "I'm not Abbe Lowell," he added.

"I don't have meetings with people in rooms and decide what today's

sales pitch will be."



Smith claims that she and Condit had a year-long relationship, though

the Congressman denied that claim in an interview with Connie Chung last

month.



While not appointing PR help, Robinson has, however, enlisted the help

of conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, a nonprofit law firm that

often uses public pressure and the media to encourage legal action

against elected officials, including former President Clinton.



Brian Doherty, director of media relations at Judicial Watch, called his

in-house PR staff "fairly extensive for a non-profit." The four-member

team was handling a number of media inquiries about Smith throughout the

week, though Doherty claimed Robinson would be in charge of media

strategy.



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