Key Lewinsky probe figure sues White House, Pentagon


Monday, September 27th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Linda Tripp sued the White House and her
employer, the Defense Department, today, alleging they used
confidential records to smear her reputation after she brought the
Monica Lewinsky scandal to light.

The suit in federal court, contending Mrs. Tripp's privacy was
violated, says unidentified people in the executive office of the
president "unlawfully disclosed" the contents of "personnel
files, FBI files, security files and other government records"
regarding Mrs. Tripp.

The disclosures were designed to spread "embarrassing or
damaging information ... for partisan political purposes," the
suit stated. Mrs. Tripp secretly recorded her phone conversations
with Ms. Lewinsky, and those tapes triggered Kenneth Starr's
criminal investigation that led to President Clinton's impeachment
and acquittal.

The suit also outlines the release of information to the news
media from forms Mrs. Tripp filed with the Pentagon. In those
forms, Mrs. Tripp told her employer she had never been arrested
when in fact she had been.

Mrs. Tripp was accused of grand larceny in the alleged theft of
$263 in cash and a $600 watch. She said the items were planted in
her handbag by friends as part of a teen-age prank. Her lawyers
have said the charges were dropped.

Mrs. Tripp is seeking an unspecified amount of money for "harm
to reputation and emotional distress and humiliation." The case
was assigned to U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Reagan
appointee.

Mrs. Tripp's lawyer, Stephen Kohn, said he asked for the case to
be assigned to Lamberth, who is handling a number of lawsuits filed
against the Clinton administration concerning alleged violations of
confidentiality.