Ken Starr, whose investigation led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, dies aged 76

Ken Starr, former US federal appellate judge and attorney whose criminal investigation of Bill Clinton led to the president’s impeachment, has died aged 76.

Mr Starr died in a hospital on Tuesday following surgery, according to his former colleague, attorney Mark Lanier. He said Mr. Starr had been hospitalized in an intensive care unit in Houston for about four months.

For many years, Mr. Starr’s stellar reputation as a lawyer seemed to set him on the path to the Supreme Court.

At 37, he became the youngest person to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia also sat.

Mr. Clinton lied under oath, engaged in obstruction of justice and followed behavior inconsistent with the president’s constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws, the investigation finds (Ron Edmonds/AP)

From 1989 to 1993, Mr. Starr served as Solicitor General in the administration of President George HW Bush, arguing 25 cases before the Supreme Court.

Mr Roberts said on Tuesday: ‘Ken loved our country and served it with dedication and distinction. He led by example, in the legal profession, the public service and the community.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remembered Mr Starr as “a brilliant litigator, an impressive leader and a dedicated patriot”.

In a five-year investigation, Mr Starr investigated fraudulent real estate transactions involving a longtime Clinton associate, looked into the removal of documents from the office of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster after his suicide and gathered evidence of Clinton’s sexual relationship. with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern.

Starr Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky worked at the White House in the 1990s (Lionel Cironneau/AP)

Each of the controversies had the potential to cause serious, even fatal, damage to Clinton’s presidency.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Ms Lewinsky expressed mixed emotions at the news of Mr Starr’s death. “As I’m sure many can relate to, my thoughts on Ken Starr evoke complicated feelings,” she tweeted.

“But most importantly, I imagine it’s a painful loss for those who love him.”

As Mr. Clinton’s legal troubles worsened, the White House pilloried Mr. Starr as a right-wing zealot bidding on Republicans bent on destroying the president.

“The assaults took their toll” on the investigation, Mr. Starr told a Senate committee in 1999. “A duly authorized federal law enforcement investigation has come to be called a new political game.

“The law has become political by other means.”

FBI Trump
In 2020, Mr. Starr was recruited to help represent Donald Trump in his first impeachment trial (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

In a bitter conclusion to his investigation into the Lewinsky case that drew even more criticism, Mr. Starr filed a report, as required by law, with the U.S. House of Representatives.

He found that Mr. Clinton lied under oath, engaged in obstruction of justice and engaged in conduct inconsistent with the president’s constitutional duty to faithfully enforce the laws.

House Republicans used Mr. Starr’s report as a road map in impeaching the president, who was acquitted in a Senate trial.

In 2020, he was recruited to help represent Mr. Trump in his first impeachment trial. In a memorable statement to Congress, Mr Starr said “we live in what I think can be aptly described as ‘the era of impeachment'”.

He said that “like war, impeachment is hell, or at least presidential impeachment is hell.”

In a post on his Truth Social account, Mr Trump paid tribute to Mr Starr as a “true American patriot who loved our country and the law”.

“I so appreciated his support and thoughts that our cause against fascists and other mentally ill people in our country is just.”

Ms. Lewinsky had a tempered and sympathetic response to the death of Mr. Starr, whose investigation of Bill Clinton helped expose his affair with the president and, she once wrote, made his life a “living hell”.

She tweeted: “As I’m sure many can relate to, my thoughts on Ken Starr evoke complicated feelings. But most importantly, I imagine this is a painful loss for those who love him. .

About Mary Moser

Check Also

Rising interest rates ‘will add nearly £600 a year on average to some mortgages’

Mortgage borrowers whose deal directly follows the base rate will see their payments rise by …