Linda R. Tripp
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A former White House secretary, first during George Bush's presidency and then during President Clinton's, Tripp, 48, was forced out of the White House and assigned to the Pentagon public affairs department.
At the urging of her friend, Lucianne Goldberg, in the fall of 1997 she began making secret tapes of co-worker Monica Lewinsky's allegations of a sexual relationship with Clinton. She gave the tapes to Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr on Jan. 12, 1998, and the following day let FBI agents wire her with a hidden microphone to record another conversation with Lewinsky.
On Jan. 16, she secretly met with a member of Paula Jones's legal team to brief them about Lewinsky's relationship with Clinton, giving them the information they needed to ask the president detailed questions during his deposition the following day.
Once the scandal erupted, Tripp was widely reviled by Clinton backers, Lewinsky lawyers and others for betraying a friend's trust. In her first public statement, on July 29, she attempted to depict herself as an "average American" without political motive who has been "vilified for taking the path of truth."
Tripp now faces her own legal problems. A Maryland grand jury is looking into whether her secret tape-recordings violated state wiretapping law. And her erstwhile ally, Starr, has turned on her, launching an investigation of whether Tripp tampered with some of the Lewinsky tapes and lied under oath when she testified that she had not altered them or made copies.
Tripp Indicted on Charges of Wiretapping (July 31, 1999)
(Updated February 25, 1999)
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