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Defense Department Probes
Report of Linda Tripp Arrest

By Jeff Leen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 14, 1998; Page A12

The Department of Defense is investigating a report that employee Linda R. Tripp, a central figure in the Monica Lewinsky saga, failed to disclose a 1969 arrest at a New York resort community on her department security-clearance forms.

A spokesman for the Greenwood Lake Police Department in New York confirmed that Tripp was arrested on a grand larceny charge in the Village of Greenwood Lake in 1969. She was then known as Linda Carotenuto and was 19 years old.

The New Yorker magazine is reporting in its upcoming issue that Tripp was accused on May 12, 1969, of stealing $263 and a watch worth $600 from hotel rooms at the Lake Pond Inn.

The magazine said that in her security form application on April 14, 1987, Tripp said she was never "arrested, charged, cited or held" by any law enforcement agency – an answer that is apparently contradicted by the Greenwood Lake charge. It can be a felony under federal law to knowingly make false statements on security forms.

"If the investigation finds that this has been confirmed, then it is a very serious situation," said Lt. Cmdr. James Graybeal of the Pentagon.

The disposition of the 1969 charge was unclear last night, Greenwood Lake Police Sgt. Mark Kotlarich said.

"We did make an arrest on her," Kotlarich said. "They have not found the disposition of the outcome."

Tripp is a public affairs officer at the Pentagon and earns $88,000 a year. She is currently working out of her home on a flexible schedule while independent counsel Kenneth Starr pursues her allegations that Lewinsky asked Tripp to lie about an alleged affair between President Clinton and Lewinsky, a former White House intern.

Tripp's Washington attorney, James Moody, said Tripp told him she was "set up" during the arrest 29 years ago.

Tripp and a group of friends were stopped by police after a night of partying, the lawyer said. "A bunch of kids were drinking," Moody said. "They were at some bar or restaurant and they let the kids spend the night there and then go home in the morning."

On that morning drive home, police stopped the car and arrested Tripp after finding the stolen money and watch in her purse. "Somebody stuck some stuff in her purse," Moody said. "It was basically a set-up. She was set up because she was the goody two-shoes of the group."

After Tripp's arrest, she appeared in court for an arraignment. Moody said at that time the charges apparently were dropped.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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