William Kennedy Smith is not exactly a household name, but the allegation that a member of the country's most well-known family raped a Florida woman last Easter has certainly generated an unusual amount of publicity.
The latest twist in the case came earlier this week when prosecutors filed detailed statements from three women -- one of whom claimed that Smith raped her in 1988 and two others who say he sexually attacked them. Prosecutors say they will use the women's testimony to impeach Smith's credibility if he takes the witness stand. There is still a question of whether Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Mary Lupo will allow the new allegations into evidence. Nevertheless, prosecutors obviously hoped the charges alone would have an impact or they would have filed the women's statements in sealed papers out of the public eye.
Clearly, this is an attempt to focus attention on Smith's credibility and to put substantial pressure on the defense. And it seems to be working. The media are buzzing; one sleazy tabloid even went so far as to run a totally irresponsible and inflammatory headline: "Willie raped before."