Monica Lewinsky said on Tuesday that she imagines the death of former independent counsel and US Solicitor General Ken Starr is a “painful loss for those who love him”, even as she acknowledged the complicated nature of their relationship.
As independent counsel, Mr Starr pursued investigations of President Bill Clinton during the 1990s — a pursuit that ultimately led to Mr Clinton’s impeachment over his handling of his affair with Ms Lewinsky.
“As i’m sure many can understand, my thoughts about ken starr bring up complicated feelings… but of more importance, is that i imagine it’s a painful loss for those who love him,” Ms Lewinsky tweeted.
Mr Starr, a native of Vernon, Texas, served as solicitor general under President George HW Bush prior to his appointment as the independent counsel to investigate Mr Clinton’s role in the Whitewater controversy. But as that investigation dragged out over the course of five years, Mr Starr significant expanded its scope — and, ultimately, honed in on grand jury testimony that Mr Clinton gave in a sexual harassment lawsuit that he’d never had sexual relations with Ms Lewinsky.
On the basis of that testimony, Mr Starr conducted an investigation that made public the nature of Mr Clinton and Ms Lewinsky’s relationship and resulted in Mr Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. He was ultimately acquitted in the Senate by a comfortable margin and finished the remainder of his second term in office.
But revelations about the affair, which began when Ms Lewinsky was a White House intern, have defined much of her life. It also defined Mr Starr, who left his role as independent counsel with strong allies on the right but a reputation among many Americans as a fundamentally partisan operator.
Mr Starr became embroiled in scandal again as president of Baylor University, which was accused of failing to respond to multiple reports of rape and sexual assault during his tenure in office. After an external review of the university’s conduct in 2016, he was removed as president and later resigned his faculty position and as chancellor.
The Clinton-Lewinsky affair, meanwhile, has continued to generate interest more than two decades after the impeachment. Ms Lewinsky was a formidable presence during the Me Too movement in 2018, attempting to reframe the terms on which the affair was ajudicated in public, while multiple television series have been made about the affair in recent years.
Hillary Clinton has also spoken out about the affair in recent days while promoting her upcoming television programme, saying that her husband “was really ashamed about it”.