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TRIPP WILL FACE TRIAL WITH A NEW COUNTENANCE

Linda Tripp, whose face launched a thousand skits, has a new look.

Tripp's legal defense fund released a statement Thursday confirming reports that she had cosmetic surgery performed several months ago by a doctor in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The surgery was paid for by an unidentified private benefactor, the statement said.

"She just didn't feel good about herself and felt she could feel a lot better, and this is what she went and did," said Bob Angelotti, a spokesman for Tripp. He described the benefactor as a close friend who, "because of the parodies," wanted to help out.

Tripp is scheduled to go on trial next year in Maryland on charges she violated the state's wiretapping law by tape-recording telephone calls in which White House intern Monica Lewinsky talked about her affair with Clinton. Tripp turned the tapes over to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Tripp's appearance became the butt of numerous jokes after she surfaced last year as a key player in the impeachment of President Clinton. For one, burly actor John Goodman donned a blond wig and portrayed her on "Saturday Night Live."

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