Lucianne Goldberg : biography
Lucianne S. Goldberg (born Lucianne Steinberger; April 29, 1935), also known as Lucianne Cummings, is an American literary agent, author and the publisher of the website Lucianne.com. An avowed critic of U.S. President Bill Clinton, she helped bring the Lewinsky scandal to light, which triggered impeachment proceedings that nearly removed Clinton from office.
The Tripp tapes
Goldberg met Linda Tripp in 1993 or 1994 while working on the proposal for the book on the death of Clinton aide Vince Foster. The two women became friends, and in 1997 Goldberg advised Tripp to secretly record former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, talking about her sexual relationship with Bill Clinton. Goldberg mistakenly advised Tripp that it was legal to record phone conversations in Maryland without the consent of the other party.
Goldberg urged Tripp to take the resulting 20 hours of tapes to Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr who had a broad mandate to investigate improprieties by Clinton. Goldberg also brought the tapes to the attention of lawyers working on the Paula Jones sexual harassment case against Clinton. The tapes became crucial to Starr's investigation on whether Clinton had lied about his affair with Lewinsky. (Ultimately, Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice because he stated in a sworn deposition in the Paul Jones case that he had never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. He was not removed from office, however.)
Soon after the secret taping began in the fall of 1997, Goldberg arranged for Tripp to speak with Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff, who had been investigating other allegations about Clinton's sex life. After the scandal became public in January 1998, Goldberg was interviewed frequently by the media. She declared that the tapes proved that Lewinsky and Clinton had had a sexual relationship, and previewed other highlights of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair such as the existence of a semen-stained dress which later proved to have Clinton's DNA.
The Washington Post called her “the producer and publicist” who set the stage for the scandal and the investigation, she called herself the "facilitator". Of Goldberg's role in the scandal, TIME magazine said; "At a minimum, she is forever sealed in history as the New York City literary agent who uttered to her friend the most ruinous sentence of the Clinton presidency: 'Linda, buy a tape recorder.' " Author Jeffrey Toobin named her as one of the seven "Key Players" in the impeachment.
Goldberg said her actions in helping to disclose the Lewinsky–Clinton affair were motivated by her sense that general morality had declined, and that America needed “a wake-up call”. She also said that the disclosure of Lewinsky's affair with Clinton helped to protect Lewinsky, who suffered from an obsessive infatuation with Clinton. During this time, Goldberg made no secret of her personal animus toward Clinton, saying she was glad Clinton was getting caught "at something", and that "[i]f it took this to get him, fine." She also said she was a political independent, though she was described in the press as having long standing ties to the Republican Party.
In the aftermath of the disclosures about the Clinton–Lewinsky affair, Goldberg was subjected to media attacks on her personal character and past business dealings. The Democratic National Committee faxed an unflattering "information sheet" on Goldberg to reporters within days after the story broke. Goldberg admitted that slurs on her own character were to be expected, '"I have never thought of myself as a victim in all this," she [said]. '"Never. Let them take their best shot."' She later said she had been worn down by the scrutiny.
Goldberg denied allegations made in the media that she was part of a vast right wing conspiracy to bring down the presidency of Bill Clinton. When Jeffrey Toobin published his 1999 book, A Vast Conspiracy, that also alleged Goldberg had told friends that she had an affair with Lyndon Johnson, and a Washington Post writer claimed he and others had overheard Goldberg bragging about an affair with Vice President Hubert Humphrey as well, Goldberg threatened Tobin and Random House with a libel suit, denied both affairs, and denied telling any such stories.
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