August, though, “all Monica all the time”rnjunkies got their best fix in months. First,rnLinda Tripp, who is either one of thernmost evil betrayers of all time or one ofrnthe most courageous and dedicated publicrnservants in American history (dependingrnon whether you are a fan of Bill Clintonrnor of Lucianne Goldberg), wasrnindicted by a Maryland grand jury for unlawfullyrnrecording the telephone conversationsrnshe had with Miss Lewinsky.rnThen, a few days later, Miss Lewinskyrnwas hospitalized following a traffic accidentrnin California in which she rolledrnher Ford Bronco. In the meantime,rnHillary Rodham Clinton revealed to arnnew celebrity-gossip magazine that herrnhusband is “a hard dog to keep on thernporch” and offered as an explanation forrnhis infidelities that “He was so young,rnbarely four, when he was scarred byrnabuse. . . . There was terrible conflict betweenrnhis mother and grandmother. Arnpsychologist told me that being in thernmiddle of a conflict between two womenrnis the worst possible situation.” And finally,rnthe “hard dog,” the day before Mrs.rnTripp was indicted, was ordered by FederalrnDistrict Judge Susan Webber Wrightrnto pay about $90,000 in penalties tornPaula Jones’s lawyers for the extra expensesrnthey incurred because he had givenrnfalse testimony in the case about his relationshiprnwith Miss Lewinsky. Just as Mr.rnClinton was the first elected President tornbe impeached, he also became the firstrnAmerican chief executive ever to havernbeen fined for acts clearly in violation ofrnhis consHtuHonal dut)’ to take care thatrnthe laws be faithfully executed.rnJudge Wright’s actions speak for themselves.rnMrs. Clinton’s comments are bestrnanalyzed by psychologists trained in thernnuances of projection. A Freudian or,rnbetter still, an astrologer or a chaos theoristrnmight be able to figure out why Monicarnwould crash right after her erstwhilernfriend (“I hate Linda Tripp,” Monica reportedlyrntold Judge Starr’s grand jury)rnwas indicted. As this journal’s legal affairsrneditor, however, I ought to have somethingrnto contribute with regard to Mrs.rnTripp’s indictment. But I have to admitrnthat Fm baffled.rnOn some of its websites, the vast rightwingrnconspiracy (VRWC) which Mrs.rnClinton early on blamed for the PaularnJones lawsuit and the gossip about thernWliite House intern (since we now knowrnthat the problem was the President’srnmother and grandmother, should Mrs.rnClinton retract her earlier statements as arnmeans of clearing the air before her Senaterncampaign?) is attributing the Tripprnindictment to retribution from—mirabilerndictu—the First Lady and her purportedrnfriend Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, thernDemocratic lieutenant governor ofrnMaryland, the state where Tripp was indicted.rnMrs. Tripp supported this theoryrnin some deposition testimony she gave inrna lawsuit recently filed by JudicialrnWatch. Tripp has retained as a lawyerrnone of the most prominent “whistleblower”rnattorneys in Washington, a man whornliterally wrote the book (The WhistleblowerrnLitigation Handbook, 1990), StephenrnM. Kohn, who lost no time in declaringrnBOOK OF NEXT MONTHrnOur second offering in the Book of Next Month Club isrnSinclair Lewis’s Babbitt. A frequently misunderstoodrntribute to the Upper Midwest—half savage critique, halfrnaffectionate appreciation—Babbitt bears witness to therntriumph of the imagination.rnThere are many editions available, and it’s notrnunusual to find an affordable first edition in a usedrnstore.rnTo offer your comments on Babbitt (or on SinclairrnLewis’s work in general), please visit our, and use the e-mail link onrnthe Book of Next Month page.rnthat “The State of Maryland should notrnuse its criminal laws to indict and destroyrnLinda Tripp . . . Any such indichnent willrnhave a chilling effect on witnesses whornhave the courage to document and reportrn. . . official misconduct.” Possibly reflectingrnsomewhat the theories of the VRWC,rnMr. Kohn stated that “Attempting to destroyrnLinda Tripp through the misuse ofrncriminal processes is just plain wrong.”rnMrs. Tripp could be subject to a possiblernfive years in prison and/or a $10,000rnfine on each of the two counts broughtrnagainst her by the Maryland grand jury.rnIf convicted, she would be the only personrnso far to suffer such a fate for crimesrnin connection with I’affaire Lewinsky,rnand there would be more than a littlernirony in the fact that the only person sornsingled out would be the one who actuallyrnmade it possible for the presidentialrnwrongdoing that led to his impeachmentrnto be revealed.rnThat irony, I think, would be toornmuch for the judge hearing the case, forrnthe jury of 12 of Mrs. Tripp’s peers, or forrna court of appeals reviewing any possiblernconvictions. The Maryland statute,rnwhich appears to be addressed at thirdrnparties who clandestinely “intercept”rnwire communications between others,rnwas clearly not intended to be used tornpunish persons who record their ownrnconversations with those seeking to implicaternthem in the commission ofrnfelonies. This will be Mrs. Tripp’s defense,rnand Mr. Kohn will also point outrnthat she not only used the recordings tornprotect herself she also took them to federalrnauthorities who believed them importantrnenough to get the attorney general’srnpermission to expand Judge Starr’srninvestigation. Judge Starr saw that Mrs.rnTripp was granted immunity from any liabilityrnunder a similar federal anti-interceptionrnstatute, and there are powerfulrnarguments that the federal immunityrnshould not be undercut by any state prosecutions.rnSince the conversation allegedlyrn”intercepted” (can one “intercept”rnone’s own conversation?) was anrninterstate one, there is even an argumentrnthat the proper jurisdiction is federal, notrnstate, and the state criminal proceedingrnshould therefore be dismissed. Thernchance of Mrs. Tripp actually servingrntime in Maryland for taping Miss Lewinskyrnis remote.rnThis should have been obvious to thernMaryland authorities as well. The grandrnjury’s action is not surprising (criminalrnlawyers are fond of stating that any half-rnOCTOBER 1999/7rnrnrn