Charges Dropped Against Linda Tripp

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Maryland state prosecutors have dropped wiretapping charges against Linda Tripp, the former White House secretary whose secret tape recordings of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky started impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.

Tripp, who recorded conversations with Lewinsky about her affair with Clinton, was charged with taping a conversation and disclosing its contents to a national news magazine in 1998.

The decision ended the only criminal case against a major figure in the White House sex scandal.

Tripp made the recordings at her Columbia, Maryland home. She was indicted last July for alleged violations of Maryland's wiretap law that makes it illegal to record conversations without consent.

However, Judge Diane Leasure ruled that much of Lewinsky's evidence should be suppressed. Leasure also said Lewinsky's evidence was not credible because her (Lewinsky's) memory was tainted by contact with evidence that Tripp provided to independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr, who led the investigation against President Clinton.

Prosecutors needed Lewinsky's testimony to prove that Tripp knew she was breaking the law when she made the recording.

But Maryland State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli told reporters on Wednesday after the judge's ruling, "there are no other witnesses to the conversation whom the state can call to testify and Tripp cannot be compelled to testify."

Lewinsky confided her sexual encounters with the President to Tripp after the two women became friends while working together at the Pentagon.

Clinton was impeached on four articles of impeachment by the House in 1998. He was acquitted by the Senate in early 1999.