NEW YORK – Lucianne Goldberg, a literary agent and key figure in the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, has died at the age of 87.
Goldberg's son, political commentator and author Jonah Goldberg, posted Thursday on Twitter that his mother died Wednesday at her home. He did not give a cause of death.
Lucianne Goldberg, a longtime conservative activist whose agency specialized in right-wing books, gained national prominence for advising her friend Linda Tripp to secretly tape Tripp's conversations with Lewinsky, a former White House intern who had been involved in a sexual relationship with Clinton.
Tripp's 20 hours of tapes of her conversations with Lewinsky were crucial to special prosecutor Kenneth Starr's investigation of Clinton over his affair with Lewinsky. Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on Dec. 19, 1998 for denying under oath that he had had sex with Lewinsky, but he was acquitted by the Senate.
A longtime Clinton foe, Goldberg had met Tripp while working on a proposal for a book on the death of Vince Foster, a Clinton aide whose suicide sparked conservative conspiracy theories. It was Goldberg who told her friend the recordings would be legal -- they weren’t -- and then encouraged her to break Lewinsky’s trust and give them to Starr. Goldberg later said she was glad Clinton had been caught “at something.”
Goldberg set up her literary agency to promote books others would have shunned. The New York Times described her as “an agent with a taste for right-wing, tell-all attack books” in an article published amid the fallout from the Lewinsky tapes.
Goldberg also wrote racy novels and worked as a ghostwriter for celebrities.
Her earlier career included the 1970 co-founding of a group called the Pussycat League that campaigned against feminism and the Equal Rights Amendment.
Goldberg was born Lucianne Steinberger in Boston. Her first marriage, to William Cummings, ended in divorce. Her second husband, newspaper executive Sidney Goldberg, died in 2005.
Her survivors include Jonah Goldberg. Another son, Joshua Goldberg, died in 2011.