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Tripp Friend Says Arrest Followed Prank

By Jeff Leen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 17, 1998; Page A06

A friend of Linda Tripp's who was with her when she was arrested on a grand larceny charge in 1969 said yesterday that the arrest was the result of a "spoof" gone wrong.

Kevin B. Milley, now a police corporal for Montville Township, N.J., said he, Tripp and about two dozen other teenagers had been out together the night before the arrest occurred. Milley said two boys in the group whose names he could not recall took a watch and money from hotel rooms at the Lond Pond Inn in Greenwood Lake, N.Y., and stuffed the items into Tripp's purse without her knowing. They then called police and reported a theft, Milley said.

"It was definitely a spoof on her," Milley said. "It turned out a little bit not as it was intended. She was entirely innocent in this affair."

A crime report from the Greenwood Lake Police Department shows that Tripp, then 19, was arrested on a grand larceny charge at 8:30 a.m. on May 12, 1969, only 4 1/2 hours after the reported time of the theft. The next day, Tripp was released on her own recognizance.

Court records from the Village of Greenwood Lake indicate that the charge against Tripp was reduced to loitering. She pleaded guilty on June 5, 1969, and was given an unconditional release without being sentenced or fined. Village Court Clerk Barbara Shenise said loitering is a violation under the New York Penal Code that is less serious than a misdemeanor and does not appear on an individual's permanent record.

The New Yorker magazine reported in its current issue that Tripp said she was never arrested on a 1987 Defense Department form to gain security clearance. Pentagon officials are investigating, a spokesman said last week. Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said it could be "serious" if Tripp failed to disclose an arrest.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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