Former president Bill Clinton’s Whitewater inquiry chief Ken Starr passed away on Tuesday at the age of 76, according to a statement from his family.
According to the statement, complications after surgery caused Starr’s death in Houston.
Starr served as the nation’s solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush and was selected by former President Ronald Reagan to serve on the Washington, D.C. circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Additionally, he served as president of Baylor University and dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law. His presidency of Baylor University came to an end in 2016 following an inquiry into the university’s improper handling of sexual assault claims.
However, he is most known for heading Whitewater, a broad inquiry that started as a look into real estate transactions made by the first family of the time, Hillary and Bill Clinton, but quickly expanded to include a number of other issues, including the infamous Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.
Lewinsky’s involvement in that incident involved the president’s extramarital relationship, which they began when she was a 24-year-old intern at the White House.
The House impeached Clinton due to allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from the incident after he falsely denied the relationship. Later, Clinton was cleared of all allegations by the Senate.
A failed property development transaction in Arkansas that the Clintons and their associates pursued years before Bill Clinton was elected president led to the appointment of Starr as independent counsel to look into Whitewater in 1994.
Vince Foster’s death, which generated suspicion and gave rise to conspiracies but was ultimately determined to be a suicide, was also covered by Starr’s thorough investigation.
Several Whitewater controversy participants were found guilty of crimes stemming from the investigation, but the Clintons themselves were never put on trial.
According to reports, Starr worked with the defence team to reach a settlement that spared Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy sex offender and suspected sex trafficker, from facing significant federal charges. That non-prosecution agreement was derided as a “sweetheart deal” by opponents. A month after being detained and accused of molesting scores of minor girls in New York, Epstein committed suicide in 2019.
Starr most recently joined the defence team for former President Donald Trump in the early 2020 Senate impeachment trial. The focus of the trial was on Trump’s attempts to get Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to declare an investigation into former President Joe Biden, who was at the time thought to be a possible Democratic candidate for president.
Trump was cleared of allegations of abuse of authority and obstructing justice by the Republican-controlled Senate. In order to convict a president and remove them from office, the chamber needs a two-thirds majority.