Kenneth Winston Starr (July 21, 1946-September 13, 2022) was an American lawyer and judge who wrote the Starr Report that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment. He led the Whitewater investigation from 1994 to 1998. Starr was a federal appellate judge from 1983 to 1989 and the U.S. solicitor general from 1989 to 1993 under George H. W. Bush.
Starr was independent counsel during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Starr was assigned to investigate Vince Foster’s suicide and Clinton’s Whitewater investments. The three-judge panel entrusted with implementing the Ethics in Government Act widened the investigation to include Clinton’s romance with Monica Lewinsky. Starr’s report suggested that Clinton lied about the affair during a sworn deposition. The accusation resulted in Clinton’s impeachment and five-year license suspension.
Ken Starr Early Life
Starr was born close to Vernon, Texas, to parents Vannie Maude (Trimble) and Willie D. Starr. He spent his childhood in Centerville. His dad was a preacher for the Churches of Christ and a barber. Starr went to high school in San Antonio at Sam Houston High School, where she excelled academically and made many friends.
In a vote amongst their peers, he was deemed to have the highest chance of success. Starr married Alice Mendell, a former Jew who had recently become a Christian, in 1970. Three children were born to them.
Starr was a straight-A student, active in the campus Young Democrats club, and an outspoken supporter of Vietnam War protesters. At the same time, he studied at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, which is linked with the Churches of Christ. He eventually shifted his academic focus to history and graduated from George Washington University in 1968. He joined Delta Phi Epsilon when he was there.
Ken Starr’s Career
Starr worked as a legal clerk for Fifth Circuit Judge David W. Dyer from 1973 to 1974 after graduating from law school. He worked as a law clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger from 1975 to 1977.
Starr began working for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a law firm based in Los Angeles, in their D.C. office in 1977. (now Gibson Dunn). He began working as William French Smith’s counselor in 1981.
Reagan nominated him to fill the seat of George MacKinnon on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on September 13, 1983. On the same day he was commissioned, September 20, 1983, he was confirmed by the United States Senate. He resigned from his position on May 26, 1989, and his employment ended.
From 1989 through 1993, Starr served as George H. W. Bush’s Solicitor General of the United States. Starr was chosen to review Republican senator Bob Packwood’s diaries by the United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics. After William Brennan departed from the Supreme Court in 1990, Starr emerged as the frontrunner for the nomination.
The top DOJ officials pushed back hard; worried Starr wouldn’t be as dependably conservative as a Supreme Court justice. David Souter was proposed as a replacement for Starr by George H. W. Bush. Starr also considered challenging Oliver North for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in 1994 from Virginia but ultimately decided against it.
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Is He Died Because of Surgery?
Family members confirmed Ken Starr’s death on Tuesday at 76. Starr was the man in charge of the Whitewater investigation of then-President Bill Clinton. According to the release, Starr passed away in Houston due to surgical complications.
Before becoming Solicitor General under President George H.W. Bush, Reagan nominated Starr to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. When an inquiry into the university’s mishandling of s*xual assault allegations ended his career as president of Baylor University in 2016, he also served as dean of Pepperdine University’s School of Law.
But he is best remembered for overseeing the Whitewater investigation, which began as a look into the real estate dealings of Bill and Hillary Clinton when they were in office but expanded to include everything from foreign lobbying to the Monica Lewinsky s*x scandal.
The president’s romance with Lewinsky, who was then 24 years old and working as an intern in the White House, was at the heart of that story. The scandal led to Clinton’s impeachment by the House on accusations of perjury and obstruction of justice after falsely denying the relationship. In the end, the Senate voted to clear Clinton of all allegations.
as i’m sure many can understand, my thoughts about ken starr bring up complicated feelings… but of more importance, is that i imagine it’s a painful loss for those who love him.
— Monica Lewinsky (she/her) (@MonicaLewinsky) September 13, 2022
Independent counsel Kenneth Starr began investigating Whitewater, which began with a failed property development transaction in Arkansas pursued by the Clintons and their friends long before Bill Clinton became president in 1994.
Even though Clinton’s deputy White House counsel Vince Foster’s demise was ultimately deemed a suicide, Starr’s extensive investigation did not ignore it. The Clintons were never criminally indicted, but several others were convicted of offenses linked to the Whitewater investigation.
Starr allegedly helped the defense team make a bargain that prevented wealthy s*x offender and accused s*x trafficker Jeffrey Epstein from facing significant federal charges. Some people thought it was a “sweetheart deal” that no criminal charges would be filed. In 2019, a month after being arrested and indicted in New York on allegations of molesting dozens of minor females, Epstein committed suicide.
In recent news, Starr has joined the legal team that will defend ex-President Trump in the first Senate impeachment trial, scheduled to begin in early 2020. In that case, Trump was accused of trying to get then-President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to declare an investigation into then-Vice President Joe Biden, who was widely viewed as a potential Democratic nominee for president.
Trump was cleared of abuse of power and obstruction of justice by the Republican-controlled Senate. The chamber needs a majority of two-thirds to convict a president and remove them from office.
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