Court freed Tripp after the execution

Media: Comedians and pundits made this central character in the Clinton scandal possibly the biggest victim of all.

May 25, 2000|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,SUN STAFF

Linda Tripp gets off scot-free -- in Maryland's judicial system. Won't face 10 years in prison. Doesn't have to worry about a $20,000 fine for her alleged violation of the state's wiretap laws back in December 1997, when she began compiling her tape library of Monica Lewinsky's confidences.

But for those of you who think Tripp is lucky -- she was, by the way, the only major figure in the impeachment scandal to face a criminal charge -- consider the sentence doled out, one liner at a time, in the court of public opinion. Since she first became a national figure, Tripp has:

Had her Pentagon salary published ($94,034 at the beginning of 1999)

Been named Esquire's "Man of the Year" for 1998.

Been likened, in various publications and forums, to Ernest Borgnine, Ed Asner, Truman Capote, Marge Schott and a herd of thundering elephants.

Inspired Jay Leno to compare her to a horse and say this about the revelation that she did not have sex between 1991 and 1998: "That means at some point in 1991, some guy got drunker than any man in history."

Inspired David Letterman to compare her to a horse's head, in his "Top 10 hilarious April Fools' Day pranks in the Mafia" -- No. 2) "Rig it so somebody wakes up next to Linda Tripp."

Been portrayed by John Goodman on "Saturday Night Live," pre-plastic surgery and 40-pound weight loss.

Been portrayed by John Goodman on "Saturday Night Live," post-plastic surgery and 40-pound weight loss.

Inspired these comments on her new look, unveiled last fall: "It's amazing. She looks like she had a head transplant." (Lucianne Goldberg, the New York literary agent who encouraged Tripp to get the goods on Clinton, and an alleged Tripp friend)

"She's not a petite woman. And as with when you are operating on a man, you are dealing with a large surface area that makes it complicated." (Dr. Geoffrey Keyes, the Beverly Hills surgeon who was paid almost $30,000 for Tripp's face-lift, nose job, chin plant and neck-fat removal)

So, will you be ready for your close-up when infamy comes to call? Check your pore size. See a surgeon. Brood darkly.

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