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Robert Ray Formally Replaces Starr

October 18, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Three federal appeals court judges today formally replaced Kenneth Starr, leaving the investigation of President Clinton and the first lady in the hands of career prosecutor Robert Ray.

``There can be no more vital consideration now than closure with all deliberate speed,″ one of the judges, Richard Cudahy wrote. ``Our selection of Robert Ray carries much promise.″

Ray took the oath as independent counsel at the federal courthouse and vowed to wrap up the five-year, $40 million-plus investigation in a ``prompt, responsible and cost-effective manner.″

On the steps of the courthouse, Ray thanked Starr for his personal sacrifice and said his office would carry on the investigation with the same professionalism. ``We should do our best to be thorough and fair,″ Ray said.

Starr, whose worked prompted the impeachment of Clinton but became a lightening rod for criticism, is returning to his private law practice.

Ray must decide whether to bring additional prosecutions and must write a final report on the wide-ranging investigation that has delved into fraudulent land deals in Arkansas and alleged presidential perjury and obstruction in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The contents of a final report _ which will deal in part with a fraudulent Arkansas land deal for which Mrs. Clinton performed some legal work _ could cause political problems for the first lady if she decides to run for the U.S. Senate from New York.

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