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Tripp Said to Be 2nd to Tell Starr of Intern

October 04, 1998| From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Before Linda Tripp contacted independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's office with allegations about President Clinton's affair with former intern Monica S. Lewinsky, a lawyer with ties to the Paula Corbin Jones case had tipped Starr's office, a published report says.

At least a week before Tripp contacted the office on Jan. 12, Jerome M. Marcus, a Philadelphia lawyer, informed a law school friend in Starr's office of the accusations related to Clinton's relationship with Lewinsky, lawyers familiar with Starr's inquiry told the New York Times for a story in today's editions.

The role of go-between played by a group of conservative lawyers with ties to the Jones case created a previously undisclosed back-channel between Starr's office and Tripp, the paper reported.

Marcus is one of a group of conservative lawyers who assisted the Jones legal team and then secretly helped Tripp find a lawyer and bring her accusations to Starr's attention, the paper said, citing unidentified lawyers.

Marcus, a partner with Berger & Montague in Philadelphia, did not respond to messages from the newspaper. Nor would Starr's office confirm his involvement.

Besides Marcus, the group of lawyers that helped Tripp included Richard W. Porter, a law partner of Starr's at the Chicago firm of Kirkland & Ellis, and George T. Conway III, a partner at a New York firm.

Clinton's lawyers and advisors have complained for months that lawyers sympathetic to Jones' case had fed information to Starr in hopes of prompting a criminal inquiry of the president and elevating the importance of the Jones sexual harassment lawsuit.

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