Ken Starr, the lawyer who hounded Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, waged a “scorched-earth” legal campaign to persuade federal prosecutors to drop a sex-trafficking case against the billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein relating to the abuse of multiple underaged girls, according to a new book.
In Perversion of Justice the Miami Herald reporter Julie K Brown writes about Starr’s role in securing the secret 2008 sweetheart deal that granted Epstein effective immunity from federal prosecution. The author, who is credited with blowing open the cover-up, calls Starr a “fixer” who “used his political connections in the White House to get the Justice Department to review Epstein’s case”.
The book says that emails and letters sent by Starr and Epstein’s then criminal defense lawyer Jay Lefkowitz show that the duo were “campaigning to pressure the Justice Department to drop the case”. Starr had been brought into “center stage” of Epstein’s legal team because of his connections in Washington to the Bush administration.
Perversion of Justice will be published next week. The Guardian obtained a copy.
When Epstein’s lawyers appeared to be failing in their pressure campaign, with senior DoJ officials concluding that Epstein was ripe for federal prosecution, Starr pulled out the stops. Brown discloses that he wrote an eight-page letter to Mark Filip, who had just been confirmed as deputy US attorney general, the second most powerful prosecutor in the country.
Filip was a former colleague of Starr’s at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Brown writes that Starr deployed “dramatic language” in the letter reminiscent of the Starr report, his lurid and salacious case against Clinton that triggered the president’s 1998 impeachment.
In the letter Starr begins affably, invoking the “finest traditions” of fairness and integrity of the DoJ. He then goes on to deliver what Brown calls a “brutal punch”, accusing prosecutors involved in the Epstein case of misconduct in trying to engineer a plea deal with the billionaire that would benefit their friends.
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Ed Pilkington