Goldberg, Son Subpoenaed in Tripp Probe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 19, 1998; Page B1
New York literary agent Lucianne S. Goldberg and her son have been subpoenaed to appear before the Maryland grand jury investigating Linda R. Tripp's taping of Monica S. Lewinsky, the Goldbergs said yesterday.
Lucianne Goldberg, who suggested that her friend Tripp tape conversations with Lewinsky about her affair with President Clinton, said that she and her son received subpoenas last week and that she had not yet arranged with prosecutors when she would appear.
Goldberg's son, Jonah, said yesterday that he received a subpoena last Tuesday and that he expected to appear before the grand jury Nov. 12.
"We're going to go together so we can shop in Ellicott City," Lucianne Goldberg said. "I understand they have antique stores there."
Maryland prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli is conducting a grand jury investigation to determine whether Tripp broke a state anti-wiretap law, which requires the consent of both parties. Montanarelli declined to comment yesterday, citing grand jury secrecy rules.
The Goldbergs may help Montanarelli establish that Tripp knew that secretly taping Lewinsky's telephone conversations was illegal at the time she was doing it, a requirement for conviction under state law. Because the Goldbergs live outside Maryland, Montanarelli must rely largely on their cooperation in complying with the state grand jury subpoenas.
Although Tripp has told a federal grand jury that she knew she violated the Maryland law by recording conversations with Lewinsky from her suburban Howard County home, her testimony was made under a grant of immunity from independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr. That means the statement can't be used against her in the Maryland investigation.
Goldberg, whose subpoena was first reported by the New York Daily News, said yesterday that neither she nor her son would be able to provide testimony that will help Montanarelli make his case against Tripp.
Goldberg had suggested to Tripp that she tape her calls with Lewinsky, and in a September 1997 conversation, Tripp asked whether doing so would be appropriate, Goldberg said yesterday.
"She said she felt sleazy doing it," Goldberg said. "She didn't ask me if it was legal or not. She said, 'I just wondered if I'll get in trouble for doing something like that' something to that effect."
After that conversation, Goldberg consulted someone who incorrectly told her that making telephone recordings of others was legal, Goldberg said yesterday. She said the person mixed up federal wiretapping rules with Maryland rules. Goldberg said she relayed the inaccurate information to Tripp.
"My exact words were, 'I checked for you and taping is legal,'‚" Goldberg recalled yesterday. "My mistake was not thoroughly checking it."
Jonah Goldberg was present for a meeting last year in his Washington apartment with his mother, Tripp and a Newsweek reporter. He said the discussions at that meeting indicated that Tripp did not know taping the conversations was illegal.
"The meeting in my apartment, the whole conversation, was predicated on the notion that there wasn't anything illegal or wrong about it," Jonah Goldberg said.
He said he had no problem appearing before the grand jury "to tell the truth, the whole truth and, as best I can, nothing but the truth."
The tapes played a key role at the beginning of the Lewinsky scandal. They captured Lewinsky describing her relationship with Clinton and describing efforts by the White House to find her a new job.
Tripp made at least 15 tapes last year before learning of the Maryland law, and then stopped after being warned by two lawyers that the taping was illegal, she told the federal grand jury. But she said she started taping again in December because she wanted to protect herself from perjury charges if she was called to testify about Lewinsky's claim about having a sexual relationship with Clinton.
Goldberg told federal investigators that a week before Tripp went to Starr with the tapes in January, Tripp took one of them to a lawyer representing her at the time. Goldberg said the attorney went "ballistic" because he had told Tripp to stop making tapes from her home. Asked whether Tripp had made any tapes after the lawyer first spoke to her, Goldberg replied that she did not know.
Montanarelli's case was bolstered in August when Radio Shack provided sales records showing that Tripp bought a telephone recording device that included warnings that taping conversations without the consent of all parties is illegal in some states. Two employees of the company's Columbia store, where she purchased the device, also testified. Company officials have said it's store policy for employees to warn customers that it's illegal in Maryland to record someone without their consent.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company