How did Linda Tripp die? Clinton-Lewinsky whistleblower kept low profile before death in 2020
Linda Rose Tripp secretly recorded Lewinsky gloating about having an affair with former President Clinton, before handing the evidence over to the authorities
Linda Tripp, the whistleblower who blew up the notorious Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in 1998, will be immortalized by actress Sarah Paulson in a new drama series.
The first episode of 'Impeachment: American Crime Story' — also starring Beanie Feldstein as Lewinsky and Clive Owen as Clinton — aired on September 7 on FX. We previously reported how Lewinsky, who is a producer on the show, pushed for a scene showing her character flashing her thong at Bill Clinton. We also profiled the full and final cast list for the FX show.
Linda Rose Tripp was an American civil servant who secretly recorded White House intern Lewinsky gloating about having an affair with former President Clinton, before handing the evidence over to the authorities. Lewinsky reportedly claimed to have had at least nine sexual encounters with the then-commander-in-chief, who was aged 49 and married to First Lady Hillary Clinton, until March 1997. She later revealed in a bombshell documentary how she deliberately exposed her underwear during an Oval Office party to get Clinton's attention. She confided about the relationship to Tripp, her defense department colleague, who went on to secretly tape their telephonic conversations. At one point, Tripp convinced Lewinsky not to wash her notorious "blue dress" that was covered in Clinton's semen stains and would later be presented as evidence in court.
The White House affair story was first broken by the Drudge Report in 1998 before it made waves in the mainstream press. Clinton initially denied it and even arranged a White House press conference sitting beside his wife to state that the allegations were false. In July 1998, however, Lewinsky was granted total witness immunity for providing a grand jury testament about her relationship with Clinton. The following month, the 42nd POTUS admitted in front of a federal grand jury that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with Lewinsky. In December that year, a Republican-controlled House voted largely along party lines to impeach Clinton, a Democrat, on grounds of perjury to a grand jury and obstruction of justice.
How did Linda Tripp die?
Tripp succumbed to pancreatic cancer on April 8, 2020, aged 70. She kept a low profile in the years leading up to her death. In July 2018, when she spoke out on the controversy at an event for National Whistleblower Day on Capitol Hill, it was “her first public address in nearly two decades," per The Washington Post.
According to the Post, she expressed having only one regret — "not having the guts to do it sooner." Tripp also said, “it was always about right and wrong, never left and right," as quoted by the newspaper. “It was about exposing perjury and the obstruction of justice. It was never about politics.” She added that she now knew what “a real high-tech lynching feels like.” Tripp reportedly lamented that it was “virtually impossible to get your good name back” and said, “My duty, my oath, was to the office of the presidency, not to the sitting incumbent, and I was true to that oath.”
According to Time magazine, however, Tripp did receive a sizeable sum as a result of the scandal. “In 2003, she settled with the Department of Defense for $595,000 in a civil suit in which Tripp charged the Pentagon had violated her privacy by releasing personal information to the media,” per the magazine. Meanwhile, she also received “a retroactive promotion, retroactive pay at the highest salary for 1998, 1999, and 2000, and a pension," according to Biography.com.
'Impeachment: American Crime Story' revisits Lewinsky's affair and scandal with President Clinton during the late 1990s, with the former White House intern herself recounting the events of their relationship. The show premiered Tuesday, September 7 at 10 p.m. ET on FX and is slated to air weekly thereafter.