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Starr's Conduct In Question

A federal appeals court cleared the way Thursday for a Justice Department investigation into Kenneth Starr. The probe's focus is Starr's conduct as independent counsel.

A conservative group with ties to Paula Jones legal team, called the Landmark Legal Foundation, had tried to block the investigation, but the court threw out their argument.

The department is investigating allegations of irregularities by Starr's office, including:

  • The initial handling of information on the Monica Lewinsky matter.
  • Starr's request to the Justice Department for jurisdiction to investigate Lewinsky's relationship with the president.
  • Starr's conduct during the investigation, including the initial meetings between the counsel's office and Lewinsky in January 1998.
One major issue is the offer by Starr's deputies to Lewinsky of an immunity deal conditioned on her not conferring with her lawyer on the matter. Justice Department rules prohibit government prosecutors from discussing an immunity deal with any defendant outside the presence of their attorney. Starr's office is required to follow these rules unless doing so would undermine the purpose of his investigation.

The probe also could delve into Starr's initial handling of information he received on Lewinsky and how he used that material to successfully request an expansion of his Whitewater investigation to include the Lewinsky matter.

Starr has denied any impropriety in his office's dealings with Lewinsky. The decision comes at a time that several key lawyers are leaving Starr's office.

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