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Stephanopoulos Stalked

A former White House intern has been arrested a third time for allegedly stalking former White House adviser George Stephanopoulos.

Tangela Burkhart, 32, was arrested Friday at a Manhattan coffee shop frequented by Stephanopoulos near West 85th Street and Broadway. She was charged with criminal contempt for allegedly violating a court order to leave him alone.

A Manhattan Criminal Court complaint said Stephanopoulos moved from his apartment near West 114th Street and Broadway in the area around Columbia University "in part to escape the pattern of harassment" conducted by Burkhart, who also lives in that area.

Stephanopoulos, the complaint said, saw Burkhart in the coffee shop, about 30 blocks south of her apartment, on three separate occasions in September before her arrest Friday. He told police she stared at him and smiled.

Burkhart, arrested twice in 1998 on harassment charges for allegedly stalking Stephanopoulos, was arraigned before Judge Troy Webber who released the defendant in her own recognizance.

"Smiling at a coffeehouse is hardly a criminal act," her lawyer, Myron Beldock, told The New York Times. "We deny the charges are court-worthy."

Stephanopoulos rose to national prominence during the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and eventually became White House communications director.

At the end of 1996, Stephanopoulos announced that he was leaving the Clinton administration to accept a two-year appointment teaching at his alma mater.

A hearing will continue Tuesday on whether statements Burkhart made to police after her earlier arrests should be entered as evidence at her trial.

When asked by The Times if she had been stalking Stephanopoulos, Burkhart replied, "I don't think it's been portrayed correctly, but I don't feel I can make a statement. I have good feelings about George Stephanopoulos."

Prosecutors did not know exactly when Burkhart was a White House intern.