Whither Monica?

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NEW YORK: While rumors fly unimpeded on the Internet, there is still surprisingly little that we know beyond basic biographical details about Monica Lewinsky. The 24-year-old former White House intern and Pentagon staffer will likely take the Fifth in her deposition to Paula Jones' lawyers Friday, and she's taking the same attitude to the media. Not even her L.A. lawyer, who is talking to everyone, will confirm or deny the affair: William Ginsburg would only say his client is "distraught" which is, in all probability, the understatement of the year.

What is emerging is just how much the entire investigation is relying on the word of Lewinsky's confidant, Linda Tripp. The now-famous Newsweek story, which was all set to scoop the world on Saturday, acknowledges Tripp as its main possibly only source. It is Tripp who has controlled access to the only 90 minutes of tape the media has heard, in which Lewinsky refers to an affair with "the big he" and "creep," and also says, alarmingly, "I have lied my entire life."

One cold hard fact: Lewinsky has just lost her job with the Revlon Corp. in New York, the offer of which was withdrawn in the light of yesterday's publicity. Not to mention having to cope with the revelation that one of her closest friends taped her conversations for Kenneth Starr and the FBI. Talk about distraught.