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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gingrich Phone Recording Troubles Ethics Committee

WASHINGTON -- New revelations Monday in the ethics case of U.S Congress House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, cast doubt on the speaker's defense that he did not intentionally mislead the House ethics committee and enmeshed the ethics panel's top Democrat in potential criminal charges involving an intercepted telephone call.

First came the disclosure that Representative Tom Campbell, a Republican from California and a Stanford University law professor, told Gingrich in a closed-door meeting of House Republicans last week that he had spoken with the speaker's attorney and concluded Gingrich had intentionally lied to his lawyer and to the ethics committee.

Later, a Florida couple who had intercepted a telephone conference call of the speaker and his lieutenants told reporters they had given a tape of it to Congressman Jim McDermott, the ethics committee's top Democrat. On the tape, made Dec. 21, Gingrich and his leadership team discuss how to limit political damage from his admission that day he had broken House rules. When the existence of the tape became known, McDermott denied knowing anything about it to The Washington Post.

It is a federal crime to "intentionally intercept" telephone calls or to "intentionally disclose" their contents if a person knows the information has been intercepted.

Amid all the turmoil, James Cole, the ethics committee's special counsel, was working on his written report detailing the findings of his investigation of Gingrich. The report is to be released Thursday with the case being aired in televised hearings at least Friday and Saturday, a source close to Johnson said Monday. House GOP leaders are to vote on punishing Gingrich on Jan. 21.