Lucianne Goldberg (also known as Lucianne Cummings), a conservative author, activist, literary agent and key figure in the 1998 impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, died in her home Wednesday, at the age of 87.
Goldberg’s son, Dispatch editor-in-chief, political commentator and author, Jonah Goldberg, wrote Thursday in a heartfelt tweet his mother had passed. He said, “She was wildly accomplished before most people ever heard of her during the Clinton brouhaha. Tough, brilliant, incredibly funny, she was many things to many people, but for me, she was just my Mom.”
Goldberg was a longtime conservative activist whose agency specialized in right-wing books, and grew to fame after telling her friend Linda Tripp to tape any and all conservations she might have with Monica Lewinsky, during Clinton’s impeachment trial, according to the Associated Press (AP). Lewinsky was a former White House intern who had been involved in a sexual relationship with Clinton.
Tripp had worked in the White House under President George H.W. Bush and stayed on to work briefly in the Clinton administration. In the summer of 1994, she was transferred to the Pentagon and it public affairs office.
Tripp was able to record 20 hours of Lewinsky’s conversations and was advised by Goldberg to hand them over to Kenneth Starr. The recordings uncovered Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky. The House of Representatives impeached Clinton on December 19,1998, for perjury for denying under oath that he had not had sexual relations with Lewinsky, but was later acquitted by the Senate.
A longtime Clinton foe, Goldberg met and befriended Tripp while working on a proposal for a book about Vince Foster, a former Clinton aide who allegedly committed suicide, that sparked conservative conspiracy theories, the AP noted. It was Goldberg who told her new friend the recordings would be legal, they weren’t, and then gave Tripp the advice.
After the acquittal, Goldberg said, “If you go at the king, you’d best kill the king, and we didn’t, Commentary reported. She later said she was glad Clinton had been caught “at something.”
Goldberg set up he literary agency to promote books most others would not have done. 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.
She also wrote racy novels and worked as a ghostwriter for celebrities.
Her 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, preceded her in death in 2005.
Her immediate survivors include her son Jonah Goldberg. She was also preceded in death by another son, Joshua Goldberg, who died in 2011.
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