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Tuesday, June 30, 1998 Published at 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK

World: Americas

Lewinsky tape-maker testifies

Linda Tripp (centre) leaving the courthouse

The BBC's Stephen Sackur: "Polls now show Linda Tripp to be one of the most unpopular women in America."
One of the key witnesses in the Monica Lewinsky affair, Linda Tripp, has ended her first day of testifying before a grand jury in Washington.

After six hours of questioning, Ms Tripp left the US District Court House without making any comment.

[ image: Bill Clinton: denied sexual affair]
Bill Clinton: denied sexual affair
Her lawyer, Anthony Zaccagnini, said that Ms Tripp said she "found it very easy to truthfully answer the questions posed to me by the prosecutor and the grand jury."

Ms Tripp's secretly-made tape recordings of a conversation in which Miss Lewinsky talked about sexual contacts she said she had with Mr Clinton form the basis of the current investigation that the President had sexual relations with Miss Lewinsky and then lied about it under oath.

Mr Clinton has denied having a sexual relationship with Miss Lewinsky.

[ image: Monica Lewinsky: pressure building up]
Monica Lewinsky: pressure building up
Miss Tripp's evidence, which could last several days, is seen as a sign that the special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, might be moving towards a conclusion of his inquiries.

A BBC correspondent in Washington says Mr Starr is also apparently trying to increase pressure on Miss Lewinsky herself to co-operate with him or face possible indictment for perjury.

Ms Tripp's testimony is being given in private to the grand jury examining the evidence against Mr Clinton. She is expected to give evidence again on Thursday.

[ image: Dale Young: testimony sparked debate]
Dale Young: testimony sparked debate
Another supposed friend of Monica Lewinsky, a businesswoman from New York, Dale Young, has already given evidence about what she was told.

Her testimony sparked a delicate debate in America about the definition of sexual relations.

Ms Young has said that President Clinton set limits and that, "nothing ever came to completion".

Meanwhile a judge has ruled that information submitted in a failed sexual harassment case brought against Mr Clinton by Paula Jones should be made public. The material includes a full transcript of President Clinton's deposition. The ruling had been sought by media groups.

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