RICHMOND, Va. — Sen. Charles S. Robb (D-Va.) confirmed Saturday that his office once had in its possession a secretly recorded telephone conversation of Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, but that it shredded the tape in recent weeks.
The tape, a transcript of which was made available to the Washington Post by a source Saturday, was "received anonymously . . . in a brown envelope" in late 1988, Robb said through his press secretary, Steve Johnson.
The conversation, which involved Wilder and Hampton Roads developer Daniel Hoffler, apparently was recorded on Oct. 9, 1988, when Wilder was lieutenant governor and Robb was running for the Senate.
Johnson said Robb did not listen to the tape, but was "made aware of its contents."
Johnson said it was destroyed recently because "there were concerns about having it. We did not feel it was relevant to the current issue. There was no reason to additionally heat up the controversy involving Gov. Wilder and the senator."
Both federal and Virginia law make it a crime to intentionally record and disclose cellular telephone conversations.
Wilder, who is on a trade mission to Europe, has ordered a state police investigation of the eavesdropping on his car phone, which he said Friday may still be taking place.