Judge Dismisses Case Against Starr
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Ending a long-dormant dispute in the Monica Lewinsky affair, a judge dismissed allegations that Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s office leaked grand jury information to the news media.
Despite the end to the court case, the prosecutor’s office and Clinton’s lawyers continued their dispute in public statements Tuesday.
In recent days, lawyers for former President Clinton agreed to an overture from prosecutors in the office of Starr’s successor, Robert Ray, that the court battle which began in 1998 should formally be brought to a close.
U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson signed a one-sentence dismissal order March 23.
With Clinton’s presidency on the line in 1998, his legal team went to court with accusations that Starr’s office was feeding the news media secret grand jury information. Prosecutors were investigating Clinton for alleged perjury and obstruction regarding his sexual relationship with the former White House intern.
Johnson in September 1998 ordered a judicial review of possible violations of grand jury secrecy rules in 24 news stories _ which ranged from accounts of Starr’s ``next moves″ to the prosecutor’s rejection of a proposed immunity deal for Lewinsky. The results of that judicial review by a federal appeals court judge have never been revealed.
``We are very pleased by the order,″ said deputy Independent Counsel Julie Thomas. ``This office has consistently maintained it did not violate the rules involving grand jury secrecy. This order dismisses these allegations without any finding of misconduct by OIC attorneys or staff.″
Clinton lawyer David Kendall said ``we are happy to finally be able to put this matter behind us.″
But, he added, ``The record of OIC leaks is a matter of history. If you really believe that the television networks make up attributions like `sources in Starr’s office tell us ... ′ I’ve got a bridge in New York City I’ll be happy to sell you.″