Kenneth Starr, a former U.S. solicitor general who headed the Whitewater investigation into former President Clinton that led to his impeachment, died at 76 of complications from surgery, The Hill reports. Starr has been a prominent figure in national politics and the legal field stretching back decades, serving as chief of staff to former Attorney General William French Smith for two years beginning in 1981 after a clerkship at the Supreme Court. Former President Reagan nominated Starr in 1983 as a federal appeals judge for the D.C. Circuit, where he served until becoming the U.S. solicitor general in the first Bush administration. Starr argued 36 cases before the Supreme Court, including 25 during his time as solicitor general.
He is best known for leading the Whitewater investigation during the Clinton presidency. It began with a probe of the Clintons’ real estate investments but eventually expanded to include the former president’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In 1998, Starr's report asserted that Clinton lied to the public and Congress about the relationship. Clinton was impeached, though was acquitted in the Senate. Starr was dean of Pepperdine University’s law school between 2004 and 2010 before becoming president of Baylor University. After an external investigation found the school mishandled allegations of sexual assault involving its football players, the school removed Starr as its president in May 2016. He soon after resigned as chancellor and chair of the school’s constitutional law department. In 2020, he joined former President Trump’s defense team during his first impeachment trial.