Linda Tripp, Key Figure in Clinton Impeachment, Dies at 70

Ms. Tripp was later given immunity from wiretapping charges in exchange for her testimony.

She was soon a figure of ridicule, being played by John Goodman in “Saturday Night Live” sketches.

While Ms. Tripp had been central to Mr. Starr’s case against Mr. Clinton, the conservatives and Clinton-haters who once hailed her did little to try to protect her. The gibes about her were so cruel that she more or less gave up on her own defense.

She held only one news conference.

“I am you,” she said as she emerged from testifying before Mr. Starr’s grand jury. “I’m an average American who found herself in a situation not of her own making.”

Linda Rose Carotenuto was born on Nov. 24, 1949, in Jersey City, N.J. Her father, Albert Carotenuto, was a high school math and science teacher who met his wife, Inge, when he was an American soldier stationed in her native Germany. The Carotenutos divorced in 1968 after Ms. Tripp’s mother learned that her husband was having an affair with a fellow teacher.

Ms. Tripp graduated from high school in East Hanover, N.J., and went to work as a secretary in Army Intelligence at Fort Meade, Md. In 1971 she married Bruce Tripp, a military officer. In a 2003 interview, she described herself as “a suburban mom who was a military wife for 20 years.” The couple divorced in 1990.

Ms. Tripp married Dieter Rausch, a German architect, in 2004. In later years she worked with him in his family’s retail store, the Christmas Sleigh, in Middleburg, Va., a Washington suburb.

In addition to Mr. Rausch, her survivors include a son, Ryan Tripp, and a daughter, Allison Tripp Foley.

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