Kenneth Winston Starr

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Starr, Kenneth Winston,

1946–, American public official, b. Vernon, Tex., grad. George Washington Univ. (B.A., 1968), Brown (M.A., 1969), Duke (J.D., 1973). After clerking for Chief Justice Warren Burger and working in the Justice Dept., he served on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Later he was solicitor general (1989–93) in the G. H. W. Bush administration, then practiced law privately. In Aug., 1994, he was named WhitewaterWhitewater,
popular name for a failed 1970s Arkansas real estate venture by the Whitewater Development Corp., in which Gov. (later President) Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, were partners; the name is also used for the political ramifications of this scheme.
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 prosecutor, replacing Robert Fiske. Starr's office gradually expanded the scope of its investigations of President ClintonClinton, Bill
(William Jefferson Clinton), 1946–, 42d President of the United States (1993–2001), b. Hope, Ark. His father died before he was born, and he was originally named William Jefferson Blythe 4th, but after his mother remarried, he assumed the surname of his
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 and his administration, but without striking success until Jan., 1998, when his inquiry was expanded to include the president's role in what became the Lewinsky scandalLewinsky scandal
, sensation that enveloped the presidency of Bill Clinton in 1998–99, leading to his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives and acquittal by the Senate.
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. Clinton's defenders criticized the conservative Starr as ideologically motivated, and his report to the House of Representatives, setting out a case for impeachmentimpeachment,
in Great Britain and United States, formal accusation issued by a legislature against a public official charged with crime or other serious misconduct. In a looser sense the term is sometimes applied also to the trial by the legislature that may follow.
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, was attacked as prejudicially detailed. After the impeachment and acquittal of the president, Starr seemed to agree that the law establishing the independent counselindependent counsel,
in U.S. law, a judicially appointed investigator of charges of misdeeds by high government officials. Originally termed "special prosecutor," the position was first created by the 1978 Ethics in Government Act.
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 should not be renewed, although he strongly defended his actions. The law lapsed in June, 1999, and he resigned the Whitewater post in October. Dean of Pepperdine Univ.'s law school from 2004, Starr was named president of Baylor Univ. and a member of its law school faculty in 2010 and university chancellor in 2014, but he was removed as president and then resigned as chancellor and professor in 2016 after an investigation determined the university had not properly investigated sexual assault accusations against football players. In 2020, he served as a member of President Trump's impeachment defense team. Starr has written First among Equals (2002), a conservative examination of the late-20th-century Supreme Court.


See his memoir of the Clinton investigation (2018); K. Gormley, The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr (2010).

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