Ken Starr, an attorney who was partially responsible for the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton and the defense of an impeachment against former President Donald Trump, died on Tuesday at the age of 76.
“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, Starr’s son, Randall P. Starr, said in a statement released by his family. “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 died in Houston of complications from surgery, the statement said.
Starr was a well-known and respected lawyer who often worked for Republican interests. He was best known for his role in the independent counsel in the Whitewater affair. He was appointed in 1994 to investigate a shady land deal that occurred during former President Bill Clinton’s tenure as governor of Arkansas.
Starr widely expanded the probe that snowballed into a much larger investigation encompassing Clinton’s involvement in a failed real estate venture, misconduct in the White House travel office, unauthorized obtaining of FBI personnel files by senior administration staffers and finally the president’s affair with an intern named Monica Lewinsky.
Starr often told reporters and pundits that he felt that he had to take the Whitewater appointment on principle, often saying that “Truth is a bedrock concept in morality and law.”
After his time on the Whitewater probe came to a close, Starr returned to private practice. In his later years, he became a high-profile figure in front of the Supreme Court, arguing several cases successfully.
After a brief stint in academia, during which time he became the president of Baylor University and oversaw the opening of the university’s $250 million football stadium, Starr returned to law and politics. In 2018, he emerged as a major defender of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation process.
In 2020, Starr was tapped to help defend former President Donald Trump in his first impeachment trial. He claimed that he felt pushed to accept the job due to politicization of the impeachment process by congressional Democrats.
“The Senate is being called to sit as the high court of impeachment all too frequently,” he said. “Indeed, we are living in what I think can aptly be described as the age of impeachment.”
Starr is survived by his wife Alice Mendell Starr, to whom he was married for 52 years, as well as his three children, Randall P. Starr, Carolyn S. Doolittle and Cynthia S. Roemer. Starr will be buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.
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