Ken Starr waged ‘scorched-earth’ campaign to drop federal case against Epstein: book
Ken Starr, a former U.S. solicitor general perhaps best known for investigating former President Clinton’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, reportedly waged a “scorched-earth” campaign to persuade federal prosecutors to drop their sex-trafficking case against now-deceased billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
The claim comes from Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown’s new upcoming book “Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story,” The Guardian reports. Brown alleges that Starr “used his political connections in the White House to get the Justice Department to review Epstein’s case.”
According to the book, emails and letters sent by Starr and Epstein’s lawyer, Jay Lefkowitz, show they were “campaigning to pressure the Justice Department to drop the case.”
When it appeared that Epstein’s lawyers were failing in their efforts, Starr reportedly left no stone unturned, writing a letter to then-U.S. Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip accusing prosecutors in the Epstein case of misconduct and creating a deal that would benefit their friends. Starr and Filip had previously worked together at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, The Guardian noted.
Starr reportedly went after the lead prosecutor in the case against Epstein, Marie Villafaña, accusing her of manipulating negotiations in order to benefit a friend of her boyfriend, an accusation that Villafaña denied.
As The Guardian reports, a prosecutor linked to the 2008 case against Epstein told Brown for her book that “it was a scorched-earth defense like I had never seen before. Marie broke her back trying to do the right thing, but someone was always telling her to back off.”
Starr, a former judge, was eventually able to help in securing a sweetheart deal for Epstein in 2008 that protected the billionaire from federal prosecution. However, a 2018 exposé from Brown that detailed the “non-prosecution agreement” led to a judge ruling that it was illegal, and Epstein was again exposed to prosecution and arrest in 2019. Epstein died in jail in August 2019 in what was ruled to be a suicide.
“It’s not appropriate to discuss any counsel I or my law firm provided to a client,” Starr said when reached by The Hill for comment. “I have always tried to act with integrity and to be guided by the great principles of the American legal system.”
Starr recently came back into public consciousness when he joined former President Trump’s defense team in his first impeachment trial in 2020.
Brown’s new book is scheduled to be released on July 20.
–Updated at 10:37 a.m.