Ken Starr, a former federal appeals court judge and prominent attorney, said the criminal investigation into Bill Clinton led to the president’s impeachment, putting Starr at the center of one of the country’s most polarizing debates of the 1990s.
The star died in hospital on Tuesday from complications from surgery, according to his former colleague and attorney Mark Lanier.
For years, Starr’s stellar reputation as an attorney seemed to lead him down the road to the Supreme Court. He was the youngest person ever to be tried before the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he served. From 1989 to 1993, Starr served as Secretary General in President George HW Bush’s administration, and before the Supreme Court he filed 25 lawsuits.
Roberts said on Tuesday: “Ken loved our country and served it with dedication and respect. He set an example in the legal profession, public service and community.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remembered Star Tuesday as “a brilliant litigant, an impressive leader, and a dedicated patriot.”
Despite his impressive legal credentials, nothing could prepare him for the job of investigating sitting presidents.
In a five-year investigation, Starr investigated fraudulent real estate deals involving longtime Clinton collaborators, delved into the removal of documents from White House Deputy Attorney Vincent Foster’s office following his suicide, and investigated his relationship with Clinton. Collected evidence of sexual encounters. Monica Lewinsky, former White House intern. Each controversy had the potential to do serious, perhaps fatal, damage to Clinton’s presidency.
As Clinton’s legal troubles worsened, the White House accused Starr of carrying out orders of Republicans bent on overthrowing the president, as a right-wing fanatic.
“The assault took a toll,” Starr told a Senate committee in 1999. Law has become politics by other means. “
In a bitter end to his investigation into the Lewinsky case, which sparked even more criticism, Starr filed a report with the U.S. House of Representatives, as the law requires. , concluded that he engaged in obstruction of justice and followed a pattern of behavior inconsistent with the president’s constitutional duty to faithfully enforce the law. As used Starr’s report.
In 2020, he was recruited to represent Trump in his first impeachment trial. “Just like war, impeachment is hell, or at least the impeachment of a president is hell.”
Clinton’s legal troubles began during the 1992 presidential election. Questions arose about the failed Arkansas savings and loan owner’s connection to the candidate. The problem soon faded. But federal regulators are questioning whether the money from the S&L was diverted to a real estate venture called Whitewater, in which Bill and Hillary Clinton and his S&L owner Jim McDougal shared financial interests. I started investigating.
Succumbing to intense political pressure from Republicans and several members of his own party, Clinton sought the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Whitewater. .
On the Whitewater Front, a star prosecutor investigated Clinton’s Jim McDougal’s S&L legal work. Both she and the president were questioned by star prosecutors, and their videotaped depositions were played for jurors in the criminal trial of McDougal and his ex-wife Susan. , has never been prosecuted in connection with Whitewater.
The investigation into Clinton’s intimate relationship with Lewinsky was a Washington spectacle.
In 1995, Lewinsky began working at the White House as an intern. During the government shutdown later that year, she and Clinton had a sexual encounter in a hallway near the Oval Office. Lewinsky confided the case to his colleague, her girlfriend Linda Tripp, who was granted immunity from prosecution in a case that brought a star celebrity to push the president’s sex scandal into America’s living room. She became the star’s primary witness against a president who denied having had a sexual relationship with her.
Starr left his studies behind and embarked on a career in academia, first as dean of Pepperdine University’s law school, where he taught constitutional issues and civil litigation, and then as president of Baylor College in his hometown of Texas. rice field. He also became the author of First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life.
Starr was demoted from Baylor’s presidency in 2016 amid a sexual assault scandal that rocked the Big 12 schools and their football programs. The woman alleged that her leader on the campus of the nation’s largest Baptist school bombarded or ignored complaints of assault. Baylor eventually settled with several women who filed a series of lawsuits, including when victims of the 2015 attack accused Baylor of fostering a “hunting ground for sexual predators.” did.
The school board allowed Starr to stay on as president and law school professor. This was a job with no “operational” duties at Baylor. He resigned outright a few months later. Football coach Art Briles was also fired.
In school-commissioned reviews, under Starr, school administrators discouraged students from reporting or participating in student behavior reviews, contributing to a “hostile” environment for alleged victims. It turns out that they did and even responded to it.
In a statement, Starr apologized to “victims who have not received the care, concern and support they deserve.”
Starr was born in Vernon, Texas, a small town near Oklahoma, and raised in San Antonio. George received his BA from the University of Washington in 1968, his MA from Brown University in 1969, and his Juris Doctor degree from Duke University Law School in 1973. From 1975 he served as Chief Justice Warren E. Burger’s legal clerk until 1977.
As a young attorney at the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm in Los Angeles, Starr worked with William French Smith, who became Attorney General in the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Appointed to the Federal Court of Appeals by Reagan.
Breiburg reported from Dallas. Associated Press writers Jim Virtuno of Austin, Terry Wallace of Dallas, and the late Pete Yost contributed to this report.