KENNETH STARR PAGE
KEN STARR FINALLY QUITS HIS POST AS INDEPENDENT COUNSEL
New Grand Jury Investigates Clinton
WASHINGTON - New Independent Counsel Robert Ray is signaling that the Monica Lewinsky scandal is far from over, assembling a new grand jury to investigate the president's conduct, legal sources say. News that the grand jury was impaneled a month ago reverberated to the other side of the country Thursday, with Democratic Party loyalists at the convention in Los Angeles decrying the story as a politically motivated leak designed to hurt Vice President Al Gore.
``If Bill Clinton was to drop dead, the Republicans would dig him up,'' complained Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. But Karen Hughes, spokeswoman for Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the GOP nominee, also criticized the release of the information. ``It's not appropriate for this type of announcement to be made on a day that the vice president is going to accept the Democratic nomination.'' The timing of the news ``hours before Al Gore is to give this speech'' warrants a federal investigation, said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill.
Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, one of the top Republican counter-punchers at the Democratic National Convention, said in a telephone conference call Friday: ``I don't know anything about it ... and I don't think anybody on the Republican side knows anyting about it.'' Gore spokesman Doug Hattaway said the judicial system was being ``manipulated for political purposes.'' Sources told The Associated Press that a new grand jury was convened July 11 in the Clinton-Lewinsky matter are outside the Independent Counsel's office. The sources spoke only on condition of anonymity.
The setting up of a new Clinton-Lewinsky grand jury at the U.S. Courthouse in Washington, D.C., follows through on Ray's promise to weigh whether the president should be indicted after he steps down from office next January.
Clinton was impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate, which fell 12 votes short of convicting him on a perjury charge and 17 votes short of conviction on a charge of obstructing justice. Now, a year and a half later, a special panel of judges is renewing Ray's mandate for another year. The judges issued a legalistic one-sentence order Wednesday declaring that ``termination of the office ... is not currently appropriate.''
The legal questions are whether Clinton committed perjury or obstructed justice when he denied an affair in sworn testimony in the Paula Jones case. The judge in the Jones case has already ruled the president gave false testimony and fined him for civil contempt of court. The disciplinary committee of the Arkansas Supreme Court has also moved to revoke Clinton's law license.
Keith Ausbrook, senior counsel to Ray, declined comment about any grand jury activity, which is kept secret by law. But in response to the judges' order, Ausbrook noted that ``we've made public that the Lewinsky investigation remains open and that the e-mail investigation remains open.'' The e-mail probe focuses on whether the White House concealed thousands of electronic messages sought by investigators. Presidential aides deny wrongdoing. In the e-mail probe, a conservative group, Judicial Watch, revealed that Ray's office is using a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va.
Judicial Watch released the first page of a subpoena for records of a major witness in the investigation, Sheryl Hall, a former White House computer specialist who said some of her fellow workers had been threatened with jail if they revealed a problem with the e-mail archiving system. The absence of archiving of incoming messages made it impossible for the White House to review thousands of e-mails to determine if they should be surrendered in various investigations - from the Lewinsky scandal to Whitewater. Judicial Watch has been critical of Ray's office for recently closing the books on two other Clinton-era controversies - the White House gathering of secret FBI files on Republicans and possible lying regarding Hillary Rodham Clinton's role in the firings of White House travel office employees. The prosecutor declined to bring criminal charges in either case and Judicial Watch says Ray should have waited until the White House reconstructs e-mail that was missing from the archives.
Seven other federal grand juries are sitting at the courthouse investigating a variety of matters, yet Ray has sought and obtained permission to form a separate grand jury focusing on Clinton-Lewinsky rather than using any of the other seven, the sources said. Getting a separate grand jury for Clinton-Lewinsky is ``a way for Ray to be prepared to act quickly and to deal with this question efficiently when he turns to it,'' said John Barrett of the St. John's University School of Law. The new grand jury is likely to get up to speed on the scandal by receiving evidence in the form of transcripts and summaries of previously gathered evidence.
``At this stage in this particular investigation it would be highly unlikely for a new grand jury to receive any new information that had not already been considered at length by Ken Starr, the United States Congress and the prior grand jury,'' said John Douglass, an expert in criminal law and criminal procedure at the University of Richmond. Barrett and Douglass did extensive work before grand juries in the Iran-Contra investigation of Reagan and Bush administration higher-ups conducted by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh.
SEE THE BLUE DRESS SHE WAS WEARING
Starr speaks out on Clinton-Lewinsky probe
LOS ANGELES, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Kenneth Starr, whose probe of President Clinton's private life divided the nation, said on Wednesday another person should have investigated whether the president lied about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. "I think it would have been much better for the country that the Lewinsky matter should have been handled by another independent counsel...It would have been better, all things considered, for there to have been a new, fresh face," Starr said in a speech to Town Hall of Los Angeles, a public interest forum.
Having already probed Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton over their dealings in the failed Whitewater real estate deal, Starr said that in retrospect a new prosecutor would have been able to avoid "that very serious public perception" that the Clintons were being hounded. Monica Lewinsky's former friend Linda Tripp brought tape recordings of her conversations with Lewinsky to Starr's office, which then sought and obtained permission to expand its probe of Clinton. Clinton was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year for lying about the affair but the Senate voted against removing him from office. Starr said America's need for stability may have influenced the Senate. "I think we've reached a decision as the American people ...and that is that acts of misconduct that might justify the ready removal of a United States district judge or an appeals judge or a Supreme Court justice, will not do service for the removal from office of a duly elected president of the United States because of the profound interest in the stability of the republic. I think that was the judgment that was reached," Starr said.
He said he regretted that Clinton had dragged out the investigation by not admitting the affair in the first place. "I very much regret that someone who has as much talent and such natural gifts and who has such extraordinarily high energy and commitment levels could not be more completely and immediately transparent to deal with the issues and get it behind us. My real disappointment at a personal level in our leader is where he took a poll on whether to tell the truth," Starr said. The statute empowering the U.S. attorney general to employ special counsels ran out in June and was not renewed by Congress, a move applauded by Starr, who said that as far back as 1981 he felt it was unconstitutional as it created an arm of government not called for in the U.S. Constitution.
Ken Starr is ends his investigation of Bill and Hillary Clinton
WASHINGTON, 6/29/99 (Reuters) - With the independent counsel law about to expire and his last pending cases about to be resolved, the end may finally be near for the Starr Report and Kenneth Starr's lengthy investigation.
Starr associates said on Tuesday he may be close to wrapping up his investigation that started with Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton's investment in the failed Whitewater land deal in Arkansas and expanded to various White House scandals, including Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. All that appears to be left for Starr would be to write a final report on his five-year, $40 million investigation, and he may be out of office before the end of the year, his associates said.
``This is the beginning of the end, with substantial report-writing ahead,'' one source said after Starr reached a plea deal with key Whitewater figure Webster Hubbell, resolving his only remaining cases. Hubbell agreed to admit in court on Wednesday his guilt to lying to conceal the work he and Mrs. Clinton performed on a failed Arkansas land development called Castle Grande when they were partners in a private Little Rock law firm in the 1980s. The plea deal spared Mrs. Clinton, who is considering running for the U.S. Senate from New York, the political embarrassment of having to go to court to testify as a prosecution witness at Hubbell's trial. The associates said they did not expect Starr to bring any other cases, assuming no new evidence emerged. ``They don't have anything on Hillary,'' one source said.
The independent counsel law under which Starr was appointed expires at midnight on Wednesday, although he and four other existing independent counsels can continue their work. Congress has been unwilling to renew the much-criticised law and even Starr testified it should be allowed to lapse. Still, the law's demise would not mean Starr's operations would shut down immediately. ``It's business as usual. We're still in business. We still have investigations open. We are not packing up on Wednesday,'' one source said. The associates said the last remaining task for Starr would be to write his final report to the special three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals that appointed him. The law required that the report describe ``fully and completely'' the independent counsel's work, ``including the disposition of all cases brought.''
The main focus of Starr's investigation was the Whitewater land deal and Clinton's relationship with the former White House intern Lewinsky, which led to the historic Senate impeachment trial and the acquittal of Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice. Starr's report also will cover his investigation into the firing of the White House travel office staff soon after Clinton took office in 1993 and the White House's obtaining of hundreds of sensitive FBI background files in 1993 and 1994.
``A lot of right-wingers are waiting for a scathing report that covers areas where there have been no indictments. I will be shocked if he does that. As a general rule, you do not malign people you haven't indicted. I think that's fair,'' a source said. The conservative legal group Judicial Watch accused Starr of ``bailing out'' and said it was ``sad'' that his latest ``retreat'' with the Hubbell plea deal ``coincides with the death of the independent counsel law.''
Starr privately told associates he was eager to finish his work and return to his private law firm.
06-23-99 WASHINGTON - Independent counsel Kenneth Starr has listed Hillary Rodham Clinton as a potential witness at the trial of her former Little Rock law partner Webster Hubbell, officials familiar with the case said Wednesday. They said the first lady was one of more than 60 potential witnesses that Starr's office put on a list submitted to the judge in April and kept under seal since then. The sources said they did not know whether Mrs. Clinton, who is considering running for the U.S. Senate in New York, would actually be called to the witness stand.
Hubbell is scheduled to go on trial on August 9 on charges that he lied to conceal the work he and Mrs. Clinton performed on a failed Arkansas land development called Castle Grande. The Hubbell case stemmed from Starr's nearly five-year investigation into involvement of President Clinton and the first lady in the failed Whitewater real estate development in Arkansas in the 1980s, when he was governor and she was a partner with the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock. Hubbell is accused of helping his father-in-law, Seth Ward, conceal a shady transaction with Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, the thrift owned by the late James McDougal, the Clintons' Whitewater business partner.
Mrs. Clinton was not mentioned by name in the Hubbell indictment, but was referred to more than 30 times as the Rose ''billing partner.'' There has long been speculation that she could be called as a witness at the trial. Mrs. Clinton has testified repeatedly in the past that she remembered almost nothing of her work on the Castle Grande development. The sources said that if she was called to testify at the trial she probably would just repeat that she recalls little about the work done by the law firm on the development. ``So what is the big hoopla?'' one source asked. ``The news would be if she wasn't on the list (of potential witnesses).''
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