Linda Tripp, whistleblower in Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal, dead at 70

Linda Tripp, whose secret conversations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, died on Wednesday, her son-in-law told The Post. She was 70.

Tripp has been seriously ill and on her deathbed Tuesday night, according to a Facebook posting by her daughter.

“My mommy is leaving this earth. I don’t know myself if I can survive this heartache. Please pray for a painless process for the strongest woman I will ever know in my entire lifetime,” Allison Tripp Foley posted on Facebook late Tuesday, adding that she was at her 70-year-old mother’s bedside. Her profile was later made private.

Tripp’s son-in-law, Thomas Foley, told The Post on Wednesday afternoon that she had passed. Her illness was unrelated to the coronavirus, he said.

“Look it’s hard to talk right now. Linda has passed on,” Foley said.

“She fought on as hard as she could. We just have to let all the grandkids know as it was so sudden.”

“I know all the press will focus on the other stuff but she was a special person and a fantastic grandparent who was devoted to her family,” Foley added. “People forget this part.”

Lewinsky expressed concern for Tripp and her family.

“no matter the past, upon hearing that linda tripp is very seriously ill, i hope for her recovery. i can’t imagine how difficult this is for her family,” Lewinsky wrote in a tweet after news broke that Tripp was dying.

Tripp, who has been called a “whistleblower” for revealing the relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky, defended herself against the allegations in 2018, saying she regretted “not having the guts to do it sooner.”

“It was always about right and wrong, never left and right,” Tripp told the Washington Post in an interview. “It was about exposing perjury and the obstruction of justice,” she continued. “It was never about politics.”

Tripp was a civil servant in the Pentagon when she became close to the then-22-year-old Lewinsky, who also worked in the public affairs office.

LEWINSKY TRIPP
Linda Tripp (left) and Monica Lewinsky in 1998

AP

Linda Tripp speaks to reporters

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Linda Tripp (C), the woman who taped telephone con
Linda Tripp arrives at the federal courthouse in Washington, DC, in 1998.

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July 2 1998 Linda Tripp Leaves Her Columbia Md Home For Her Second Appearance Be
Linda Tripp leaves her Columbia, Maryland, home in 1998.

Karin Cooper/Getty Images

This photograph released by NBC television 11 Febr
Linda Tripp speaks during an interview with NBC in 1999.

Lisa Berg/AFP via Getty Images

Linda Tripp Leaves Her Columbia Md Home For Her Fifth Day Of Te
Linda Tripp leaves her home in Maryland before a day of testimony in 1998.

Karin Cooper/Getty Images

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During their conversations, Lewinsky revealed that she had a physical relationship with Clinton when she was a White House intern, and Tripp began to secretly record their talks.

Tripp also encouraged Lewinsky to document her relationship with the president.

Tripp turned the tapes over to then-independent counsel Kenneth Starr in exchange for immunity from illegal wiretapping charges.

She also told Starr about a key piece of evidence — the semen-stained navy blue dress Lewinsky said she wore during a sex act.

Lewinsky had shown Tripp the dress and she encouraged her to keep it and not have it dry cleaned.

Using the information on Tripp’s recordings, Starr got approval from then-Attorney General Janet Reno and the special court overseeing the independent counsel to expand the investigation into the relationship between Lewinsky and the president.

Tripp also turned the tapes over to the attorneys in Paula Jones’ sexual harassment case against Clinton.

Lewinsky’s conversations laid the groundwork for the perjury charges against Clinton, who had denied the affair.

He was impeached by the House in December 1998 but was acquitted by the Senate in 1999.