Lawyer and former judge Kenneth Starr died following complications from surgery at the age of 76.
Starr is widely known for leading the independent investigation into the Clinton Administration that brought national attention to President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. The findings of Starr’s probe ultimately resulted in Clinton’s impeachment.
“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,” said his son, Randal P. Starr, 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. He is now with his Lord and Savior.”
Starr was born in Vernon, Texas on July 21, 1946. A graduate of Duke Law School, Starr clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. In 1983, he was appointed a federal judge by President Ronald Reagan. Starr later served as the solicitor general during President George H. W. Bush’s administration.
He was appointed to lead an investigation into Clinton’s conduct in connection to an estate investment business known as the Whitewater Development Coorporation. The investigation expanded in scope, ultimately including a sexual assault lawsuit filed by Paula Jones against Clinton while he was the governor of Arkansas as well as Clinton’s statements regarding his relationship with Lewinsky, who was an intern at the White House.
Starr ultimately sent a 445-page report to Congress in 1998. The report included 11 possible grounds for Clinton’s impeachment, “including perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power,” per NPR.
Clinton was ultimately acquitted by the Senate.
“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,” tweeted Monica Lewinsky following the news of Starr’s Sept. 13 passing.
Later, “Starr reportedly aided the defense team that cut a deal sparing Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy sex offender and accused sex trafficker, of serious federal charges. Critics called that non-prosecution agreement a ‘sweetheart deal,’” reported CNBC. “Epstein died by suicide in 2019, a month after being arrested and indicted in New York on charges of abusing dozens of underage girls.”
In 2020, Starr served on President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team. Trump was subsequently acquitted.
“We used to talk about the imperial presidency, but now we can talk about the imperial and imperious House of Representatives,” Starr said of Trump’s impeachment during an interview with Mark Levin. “So this is a chapter in our history. It’s already proving to be a very ugly chapter in our constitutional history.”
Over the course of his career, Starr argued 35 cases before the United States Supreme Court.
He also taught as an adjunct or visiting professor at New York University, George Mason School of Law, Pepperdine School of Law, Chapman Law School, The Baylor School of Law and Hillsdale College. Between 2010 and 2016, Starr served as the president of Baylor University.
Starr died at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston. He will be buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.