Ken Starr, a former federal judge whose investigation of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Whitewater scandal uncovered the 42nd president’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and led to the second impeachment of a president in American history, died Tuesday at a Houston hospital.
Starr, a former US solicitor general during the George H.W. Bush administration, was 76. He died of complications from surgery, a spokeswoman said.
“We are deeply saddened with the loss of our dear and loving father and grandfather, whom we admired for his prodigious work ethic, but who always put his family first,” his son Randall said in a statement.
“The love, energy, endearing sense of humor, and fun-loving interest dad exhibited to each of us was truly special, and we cherish the many wonderful memories we were able to experience with him.”
Starr was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in 1983. He served in that post for nearly six years before resigning to become solicitor general, with current Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as his prinicpal deputy.
Bush reportedly considered Starr for the Supreme Court nomination that ultimately went to David Souter.
In 1994, a special three-judge panel of the DC Circuit tapped Starr to investigate Whitewater, a complex probe of real estate investments by the Clintons that expanded to take in the president’s affair with Lewinsky.
Starr graphically documented Bill Clinton’s illicit encounters with the then-White House intern in what became dubbed “The Starr Report,” in the summer of 1998.
“According to Ms. Lewinsky, she performed oral sex on the president on nine occasions. On all nine of those occasions, the president fondled and kissed her bare breasts,” his report said. “She called him ‘Handsome’; on occasion, he called her ‘Sweetie,’ ‘Baby,’ or sometimes ‘Dear.’”
The Republican-controlled House quickly impeached Clinton on articles of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the affair. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in 1999.
The case made Starr a household name.
More than 20 years later, Starr was then tapped to help represent then-President Donald Trump in his 2020 impeachment trial.
When his appointment was first announced, Lewinsky tweeted: “This is definitely an ‘are you f–king kidding me?’ kinda day.”
In a statement to Congress during the Trump impeachment trial, Starr said: “We are living in what I think can aptly be described as the ‘age of impeachment’.” He added that “like war, impeachment is hell, or at least presidential impeachment is hell.”
Trump was acquitted in February 2020 of the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress articles of impeachment against him.
In his later years, Starr embarked on a career in academia. He was dean of the law school at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California and then president and chancellor of Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
He was forced to step down from Baylor in 2016 amid a scandal involving the school’s handling of rape and sexual assault complaints against football players.
Starr later told ESPN that he wasn’t aware of the allegations until media reports first surfaced in 2015 during a player’s trial.
“I didn’t know about what was happening, but I have to, and I willingly do accept responsibility. The captain goes down with the ship,” he said at the time.
Born in Vernon and raised in San Antonio, Starr earned his B.A. from George Washington University in 1968, his M.A. from Brown University in 1969 and his J.D. degree from Duke University Law School in 1973.
Starr is survived by his wife of 52 years, Alice Mendell Starr, his three children and nine grandchildren.
He will be buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin on Saturday.
May Ken Starr REST IN PEACE ! He deserves at least that ! He fought for justice, and raised a family ! That’s more than I can say for a LOT OF PEOPLE !!!
It was all a giant ruse to distract us. Yeah, Monica had a cigar but the “impeachment” was just an agreement between members of The Big Club to make We the People stop looking into Billy Jeff’s real problems.
Another human been killed by the Clintons everytime people will speak against the Clintons they die mm! Easy the Clintons mafia had then killed
why is it I think that Hillary had him killed in order to serve notice on the current individual investigating her, Durham! It is like she is saying this is what happens to people who get too close to me! I have no proof just a nagging hunch!
Isn’t this around 63 of these now?