Md. Prosecutor's Statement
On Tripp Probe
Maryland Delegate Robert L. Flanagan has filed a Public Information Act request for my office to disclose all documents that relate to or refer to any communications from elected officials, officials of the Glendening administration, and any other persons who have communicated with us, whether directly or indirectly, to encourage me or question me regarding whether and when I might be investigating or taking any other action regarding Linda Tripp.
Delegate Flanagan has asked me to interpret his request in the spirit it is intended to promote a full public airing of all communications with my office by "politicians of all stripes" relating to the Linda Tripp matter. I have accepted his request in that spirit. I will answer his request in writing. My answer will contain the following disclosures of communications with public officials, which I am making to the public in order that the public may know that my decision to investigate the Tripp case was not due to political influence of any kind:
During the above period I had other communications with Mrs. McLendon regarding the case law on electronic surveillance, correspondence and calls which she received concerning her decision to refer the matter to me and the scheduling and security of the grand jury. At no time did she attempt to influence me as to when we would begin our investigation or as to how to conduct it.
The above disclosures constitute the only communications which I have received concerning the Tripp case from public officials. No one from the Clinton administration has tried to contact my office. I do not know anyone in the Clinton administration. No one from the Glendening administration has tried to contact my office. I met the Governor once at a social function honoring Judge Irma S. Raker. I talked to him on one occasion concerning an allegation of illegal contributions to his 1994 campaign. This had nothing to do with the Tripp case and the conversation took place before the Tripp matter became known. No federal official has contacted my office except for a member of the staff of the Office of Independent Counsel who called in February when it was announced that the investigation of Ms. Tripp had been referred to me. I told him that we were deferring to his office.
I know the two Senators from Maryland but I have neither seen nor talked to them for several years. I do not know any of the Congressional Representatives except one who referred a matter to my office several years ago. No one from Congress or a member of their staffs have contacted my office regarding the Tripp case.
As to statements made by Ms. Tripp’s attorneys that I had told them that I was receiving pressure to investigate, they are in error. I may have told them that I had received the letter from the 49 delegates without specifying that it had been forwarded to me by Mrs. McLendon. If they interpreted that to mean that I was being influenced, they are wrong.
I have met with Ms. Tripp’s attorneys on two occasions, February 16 and June 8, 1998. On both occasions they asked me to decline the investigation and I told them that the matter would be investigated by my office without specifying a date. I assume that they related that to their client so that it should not have surprised Ms. Tripp or intimidated her when I announced the grand jury investigation. If it did, then I attribute it to poor timing on my part. There was no malice intended. Investigations are initiated based on the workload of the office, priorities and other factors, not the wishes of the subjects of the investigation.
As to my political motivations, I have none. I intend to serve my remaining years as a public official as State Prosecutor. On May 18, 1998, in accordance with the State Prosecutor’s statute, I filed an affidavit with the State Prosecutor Selection and Disabilities Commission. The affidavit states that I will not accept appointment or be a candidate for any state or local office during my service as State Prosecutor and for a three-year period after I last serve as State Prosecutor.
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