Cultural Revolutions

The Clinton Scandals

The Clinton scandals continue to gurgle below the surface of American politics and law, occasionally throwing up a polluted geyser. Kenneth Starr's successor as independent counsel, Robert Ray, is still considering indicting the President when he leaves office; disbarment proceedings are under way against Mr. Clinton in his home state of Arkansas; and Linda Tripp, nemesis of Mr. Clinton and his paramour. Miss Lewinsky, is still enmeshed in Maryland criminal proceedings.

Mrs. Tripp is the only major player in the Lewinsky imbroglio yet to find herself under criminal prosecution. A Democratic prosecutor in Maryland had her indicted by a grand jury for violating Maryland's anti-wiretap statute, which, on its face, prohibits the interception of telephone communications unless both parties to the conversation give permission. Miss Lewinsky never gave Mrs. Tripp permission to record their chats, and it appears that, at some time in late November or early December 1998, Mrs. Tripp became aware that taping conversations without permission violated Maryland law. The indictment refers only to the taping of one conversation, on December 22, 1998, at a time when she would have possessed the requisite criminal intent to violate the statute.

Some months ago (Cultural Revolutions, October 1999), I predicted that...