Ken Starr, the former federal appeals judge and prominent attorney whose criminal investigation into Bill Clinton led to the president’s impeachment, died Tuesday at the age of 76, his family said.
Starr died Tuesday in a hospital from complications from the surgery, according to a former colleague, attorney Mark Lanier. He said Starr has been in the intensive care unit in Houston for four months.
In 2020, Starr is named to the legal team representing President Trump in his first impeachment trial.
For many years, his excellent reputation as a lawyer seemed to put him on the path to the Supreme Court. At age 37, he became the youngest person ever to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he also served as Chief Justice John J. Roberts, Jr., Judge Clarence Thomas and the late Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Servants. From 1989 to 1993, Starr was attorney general in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, defending 25 cases before the Supreme Court.
Despite his impressive legal qualifications, there was nothing that could prepare him for the task of investigating the current president.
In a five-year investigation, Starr looked into fraudulent real estate deals involving a longtime partner of Clinton, delved into removing documents from the office of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster after his suicide in 1993 and gathering evidence of Clinton’s sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern. Each of the controversies had the potential to inflict severe, and possibly fatal, damage to the Clinton presidency.
As Clinton’s legal problems worsened, Starr was ridiculed by the White House as a right-wing fanatic who would order Republicans bent on destroying the president.
“The assaults” influenced the investigation, Starr told a Senate committee in 1999. “A federal investigation authorized by federal law has been described as another political game. Law has become policy by other means.”
At the bitter end of his investigation into the Lewinsky case that drew further criticism, Starr submitted a report, as required by law, to the U.S. House of Representatives. He concluded that Clinton had lied under oath, engaged in obstruction of justice and engaged in conduct inconsistent with the president’s constitutional duty to faithfully implement the laws.
House Republicans used the Starr report as a roadmap in the impeachment trial of the president, who was acquitted in a Senate trial.
In 2020, Starr is enlisted to help represent Trump in his first impeachment trial. In a memorable statement to Congress during the trial, Starr said, “We live in what I believe can aptly be described as the ‘Age of Accountability.'” He said, ‘Like war, impeachment is hell, or at least, presidential indictment.’ “.
Clinton’s legal troubles began during the 1992 presidential campaign. Questions arose about the candidate’s relationships with the failed Arkansas Savings and Loan owner. The issue quickly cleared up. But it caught the attention of federal regulators, who have begun looking into whether the money from S&L had been funneled into a real estate project called Whitewater where Bill, Hillary Clinton and S&L owner Jim McDougall share a financial interest.
In response to intense political pressure from Republicans and some members of his party, Clinton called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate whitewater. The three-member appeals court for independent lawyers chose Starr.
On the whitewater front, Star prosecutors have investigated Hillary Clinton’s legal work for McDougal’s S&L. Both she and the president were questioned by Starr’s prosecutors, and their videotaped statements were played to juries in the criminal trials of McDougall and his ex-wife, Susan. None of the Clintons have been charged in connection with Whitewater.
The investigation of President Clinton’s intimate relationship with Lewinsky was a spectacle for Washington.
In 1995, Lewinsky went to work in the White House as an intern. During the government shutdown late that year, she and Clinton had a sexual encounter in a driveway near the Oval Office, the first of 10 sexual encounters over the next year and a half. Lewinsky confided the case to her co-worker, Linda Tripp, who recorded some of their conversations and brought the tapes to Starr’s prosecutors. Lewinsky was granted immunity from prosecution and became the main witness for Star v. the President, who denied having sexual relations with the intern.
Putting the investigation behind him, Starr embarked on academic work, first as dean of Pepperdine University School of Law, where he taught constitutional issues and civil procedure, and then as president of Baylor University in his home state of Texas. He also became an author, writing First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life.
Born in Vernon, Texas, and raised in San Antonio, Starr received his BA from George Washington University in 1968, his MA from Brown University in 1969, and his Juris Doctorate from Duke University School of Law in 1973. Warren E. Burger from 1975 to 1977.
As a young attorney at Gibson and Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles, Starr worked with William French Smith, who became the attorney general in President Reagan’s administration. Starr became Smith’s advisor, and from there, he was nominated by Reagan to the Federal Court of Appeals.
Starr is survived by his 52-year-old wife, Alice Mindell Starr. Children Randall B. Starr, Caroline S.; Doolittle and Cynthia S. Romer; and nine grandchildren.
A Times writer contributed to this story.