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Search for Tripp Tapes Turns to Neighbor

By Paul W. Valentine
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 26, 1998; Page A39

A Maryland grand jury investigating whether Linda R. Tripp illegally taped telephone conversations with former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky has ordered one of Tripp's neighbors to turn over any of the secretly made tapes that Tripp or others may have given her.

A grand jury subpoena directs Kathleen Ann Manwiller, who lives directly across the street from Tripp in Columbia in suburban Howard County, to bring any originals or copies of tapes with her to a Dec. 10 appearance before the 23-member panel.

The subpoena also asks for any memos and other documents "reflecting the existence, location or possession" of the tapes by anyone other than the office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

It wasn't clear why Maryland State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, who is leading the investigation of Tripp, suspects that Manwiller might have any tapes. Tripp is familiar with the Manwillers, as she spent several hours in the Manwillers' house on at least one occasion in January when the Lewinsky scandal first became public and members of the news media were waiting outside her house.

The subpoena marks at least the second time that Montanarelli has sought to obtain tapes of more than two dozen conversations that Tripp secretly recorded in late 1997 in which Lewinsky detailed her affair with President Clinton.

Two weeks ago, New York literary agent and Tripp confidante Lucianne Goldberg furnished the grand jury a cassette tape containing what she said were five or six Tripp-Lewinsky conversations.

The tapes are crucial to Montanarelli's inquiry into whether Tripp broke Maryland law by taping the conversations without Lewinsky's consent. Under the state's tough-to-enforce wiretap statute, however, prosecutors must show that Tripp knew she was breaking the law.

Tripp acknowledged in testimony before the Starr grand jury last summer that she taped at least two conversations in December 1997 after being warned by lawyers that it was against the law. Goldberg told reporters after her appearance before the Maryland grand jury Nov. 12 that the conversations she surrendered to Montanarelli occurred much earlier, in October 1997.

Montanarelli's investigation also is hobbled by an immunity agreement Tripp has with Starr, making the tapes she gave Starr and her testimony before his grand jury off limits.

The subpoena issued to Manwiller does not mention Lewinsky by name and asks for "any" recordings involving Tripp and "any other person received from any person or source other than" Starr -- an apparent recognition of the limits on access.

Montanarelli's office declined to comment on the subpoena. Kathleen Manwiller's husband, Dale, said the family has "been asked not to comment." E. Alexander Adams, a lawyer and Manwiller family friend, also declined to comment.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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