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House Prepares to Release Tripp-Lewinsky Tapes to Media Groups

By Ellen Gamerman
The Baltimore Sun

After months of silence, Monica finally speaks.

On tape, that is. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to release to the media Tuesday morning tape-recorded conversations between Monica Lewinsky and ex-friend Linda Tripp. Television, radio and computer Web sites will play excerpts from the 37 tapes, and some news organizations plan on playing the tapes in their entirety throughout the day.

"People really just want to hear what Monica sounds like," said Rich Fahle, a spokesman for C-SPAN, which will play the tapes from start to finish. "The content of the tapes have already made their way out, so what people really want is just the voice."

While C-SPAN, both the television and radio versions, will play all 22 hours of the tapes (using pictures of the two women as a visual backdrop) most other networks are planning shorter, special reports. CNN has scheduled extended coverage, and its talk show hosts are set to focus much of the chatter around the sound of Lewinsky and the relationship dynamics revealed on the tapes.

The tapes are not expected to be high quality; early word has it they are muffled in places. They also are said to include many blank spaces left by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which edited the tapes for propriety and privacy.

The tapes will be delivered to the House Radio and Television Gallery at 9:30 a.m. EST, when networks and other broadcast media will each get a copy.

Not everything may make it on the air, said CBS spokeswoman Sandy Genelius. "You want to be prepared to tell the story," she said. "But hopefully you will use some taste."