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Text of Linda Tripp's Remarks

Wednesday, July 29, 1998

Full text of Linda Tripp's remarks outside the federal courthouse after her final appearance before a federal grand jury investigating the Monica Lewinsky matter. Transcribed by Federal Document Clearing House.

Good afternoon.

I'm not a public speaker. I am going to have to refer to my notes. Please bear with me.

I've just completed my testimony before the federal grand jury. This has been a lengthy process and, as I'm sure you can imagine, a very difficult one.

While I am relieved that the testimony has come to an end, I am glad to have fulfilled my legal obligation to the grand jury by testifying truthfully and completely.

I hope -- I sincerely hope -- that all remaining witnesses will do the same.

I am encouraged that it appears from press reports that Monica (Lewinsky) has decided to cooperate with the independent counsel. The facts will show that time after time, I urged her to tell the truth right up until the end.

I understand that there has been a great deal of speculation about just who I am and how I got here. Well, the answer is simple. I'm you. I'm just like you. I'm an average American who found herself in a situation not of her own making.

I'm a suburban mom, who was a military wife for 20 years, and a faithful government employee for 18 years.

I never, ever asked to be placed in this position. Because I am just like you, I ask you to imagine how you would feel if someone you thought was a friend urged you to commit a felony that could jeopardize your job, potentially put you in jail and endanger the well-being of your children.

Imagine how you would feel if your boss' attorney called you a liar in front of the whole country. And imagine if that boss was the president of the United States.

Imagine how you would feel if your employer illegally released your confidential records to the media, then demoted you and cast you aside for daring to tell the truth.

Imagine how it would feel to see the pain in your children's eyes when they hear a seemingly endless barrage of lies about their mother, a mother who is not going out to defend herself.

As a result of simply trying to earn a living, I became aware between 1993 and 1997 of actions by high government officials that may have been against the law.

For that period of nearly five years, the things I witnessed concerning several different subjects made me increasingly fearful that this information was dangerous, very dangerous, to possess.

On Jan. 12, 1998, the day I approached the Office of the Independent Counsel, I decided that fear would no longer be my master. This investigation has never been, quote, "just about sex." It has been about telling the truth. The truth matters.

For example, it matters that you know now that I have testified to the fact that I had nothing, let me repeat, nothing to do with preparing the so-called talking points. Allegations to the effect that I contributed to or assisted in any way with the creation of the talking points are as illogical as they are patently false.

I have been vilified for taking the path of truth. I've been maligned by people who have chosen not to tell the truth, and who know that they are not telling the truth. That's a pretty frightening thing. To cast me in the role of the villain, they have enlisted legions of paid prevaricators, not surprisingly, many in the entertainment industry have chosen to ridicule me as well. Going so far as to even make fun of my appearance in a manner so mean and so cruel that I pray none of you is ever subjected to it.

Despite all of that, I bear no malice toward anyone in this case. I have never had any political agenda. I still don't. I have been honored to serve presidents in both parties.

I want to say a word about the people who've supported me throughout this ordeal. I don't believe they're Washington insiders. I don't think that they're the politically connected. But they have made a noticeable effort to have their voice heard and to support me and my family. It has meant a great deal to us. So for all of that, I thank each and every one of them. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the men standing with me today for their unfailing support and superb counsel. Anthony Zaccagnini, Joe Murtha and Philip Coughter.

I certainly could not have gotten through this without the love and support of my children, Ryan and Allison, who are here with me today, and a very strong extended family. I believe in our country -- as I said, I'm no different than any of you. I believe you have the right to tell the truth under oath, and I believe you have the right to do so without fear of retribution or worse.

I hope that when all the facts are revealed, you'll understand that it is a right all of us should be fighting for.

Thank you.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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