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Ken Starr, who led Clinton investigations, dies at 76

Kenneth Starr, former U.S. solicitor general and independent counsel who led investigations into former President Bill Clinton, has died from complications during surgery. File photo by Michael Kleinfeld/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4d44472aba5f04aed87bcc89ddfb9676/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Kenneth Starr, former U.S. solicitor general and independent counsel who led investigations into former President Bill Clinton, has died from complications during surgery. File photo by Michael Kleinfeld/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Kenneth Starr, a former federal judge, U.S. solicitor general and independent counsel who investigated former President Bill Clinton, has died.

Starr died of complications from surgery at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center in Houston on Tuesday at the age of 76, according to statement from his family.

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"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. 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," Starr's son, Randall, said in the statement.

Starr was born in Vernon, Texas, on July 21, 1946. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from George Washington University in 1968, a master's degree in political science from Brown University in 1969 and a law degree from Duke University Law School in 1973.

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Starr was nominated by former President Ronald Reagan, and confirmed by the Senate, as a federal judge to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1983.

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In 1989, Starr was nominated by former President George H.W. Bush to become U.S. solicitor general. Starr argued 36 cases before the Supreme Court, including 25 during his service as solicitor general until 1993.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who worked under Starr, said Tuesday "Ken loved our country and served it with dedication and distinction. He led by example, the legal profession, public service and the community."

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Starr was appointed by a three-judge panel to serve as independent counsel for five investigations between 1994 to 1999. He led investigations into Clinton's involvement in the Whitewater real estate scandal, Paula Jones' allegations of sexual harassment against the former president and Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, which ended with his impeachment and eventual acquittal.

In 2010, Starr became the president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where colleagues mourned his passing Tuesday.

"Judge Starr was a dedicated public servant and ardent supporter of religious freedom that allows faith-based institutions such as Baylor to flourish," said Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone. "I appreciated him as a Constitutional law scholar and a fellow academician who believed in the transformative power of higher education."

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Starr was removed as Baylor's president in 2016 and returned to politics in 2020 to defend former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial, saying the Senate "is being called to sit as the high court of impeachment all too frequently."

"Indeed, we are living in what I think can aptly be described as the age of impeachment," Starr said.

Starr is survived by his wife, Alice Mendell Starr, three children and nine grandchildren. He will be buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.

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