Linda Tripp, a key figure in the presidential sex scandal that nearly brought down the administration of Bill Clinton over his affair with onetime White House intern Monica Lewinsky, leading to the president’s impeachment in 1998, died Wednesday. She was 70.

Linda Tripp talks to reporters outside federal court in Washington in July 1998. Tripp, whose secretly recorded conversations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky led to the 1998 impeachment of President Clinton, died Wednesday at age 70. Khue Bui/Associated Press

The death was confirmed by her son, Ryan Tripp. Other details were not immediately available. She had been treated for breast cancer in the past.

Tripp was praised as a whistleblower by some for calling out presidential misbehavior with an intern in the Oval Office, and was vilified by others as a snitch who betrayed her friendship with Lewinsky in an effort to bring down a president.

Tripp had worked as a White House secretary during the administration of President George H.W. Bush and stayed on for the first two years of the Clinton presidency, in 1993 and 1994. She later told a grand jury that she was troubled by the president’s behavior toward women.

After she was transferred to the Pentagon, Tripp befriended Lewinsky, a former White House intern who confided that she had a sexual relationship with Clinton while he was president.

The two women had frequent conversations, in person and over the phone. Tripp secretly began to record their telephone conversations, resulting in hours of intimate and sometimes graphic descriptions of Lewinsky’s relationship with Clinton.

Tripp later turned over her taped recordings to independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who was investigating possible financial wrongdoing in the Clinton administration. Starr then focused his investigation toward Clinton’s relationship with Lewinsky, convening a grand jury to determine whether the president had broken any laws.

Among other things, Tripp told Starr’s investigators about a navy blue dress Lewinsky had worn during an encounter with Clinton that was stained with the president’s semen. She had advised Lewinsky not to have it cleaned, in case she might need it as future evidence.

“I just don’t want to take away your options down the road, should you need them,” she told Lewinsky during one of their recorded conversations, later made public in the independent counsel’s report, the so-called Starr Report.

“I just, I don’t trust the people around him, and I just want you to have that for you,” Tripp added. “Put it in a baggie, put it in a Ziploc bag, and you pack it in with your treasures, for what I care.”

Clinton was later charged with obstruction of justice and lying under oath and was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives in December 1998. He was acquitted by the Senate in February 1999.

Tripp spent eight days testifying to a grand jury convened by Starr. When Lewinsky was called to testify before the grand jury, she was asked if she had anything to add.

“I’m really sorry for everything that’s happened,” she said. “And I hate Linda Tripp.”

On the final day of the Clinton presidency in 2001, Tripp was fired from her job at the Pentagon. She sued the government for violating her privacy and reached a settlement of $595,000 in 2003.

She later settled in Middleburg, Virginia, about 47 miles west of Washington, where she and her husband operated a store selling Christmas decorations.

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