Dershowitz and Starr Working Together Could Be a Bit Awkward

Dershowitz and Starr Working Together Could Be a Bit Awkward January 22, 2020

Turns out Trump himself is not the only one involved in his impeachment who used to savage Ken Starr on a regular basis. Alan Dershowitz, who joined the legal team at the same time as Starr, once called him a grave danger to our liberties. That was when Ken Starr was the special prosecutor investigating Bill Clinton and setting up his impeachment.

Credit to Gage Skidmore: https://flickr.com/photos/22007612@N05/49285075311

In a series of essays published in 1998 under the title Sexual McCarthyism, he criticized Starr for a series of leaks—“really hemorrhages,” he wrote—and questioned whether Starr needed to be investigated by an independent counsel. He pointed to the strong appearance of a conflict of interest in his connection to conservative activist Richard Mellon Scaife, who Dershowitz described as a “Clinton-basher” and who’d recently endowed a new school of public policy at Pepperdine University, of which Starr was named the first dean in 1996. (Starr withdrew without taking office after the Lewinsky controversy but later became dean of the law school.) “Starr,” wrote Dershowitz in an essay from the book dated May 1996, “is quickly destroying the credibility and integrity that alone justifies having an Independent Counsel.”

Later, Dershowitz painted Starr in even darker terms, as a threat to democracy. “Which is more dangerous to our liberties,” Dershowitz asked in a 1998 essay, “a president who may have had a sexual encounter with a willing intern and then tried to cover it up? Or a prosecutor who may have leaked secret grand jury testimony in an effort to get potential witnesses to change that testimony, and who hid his conflict of interest from the court?” Dershowitz concluded, “Most Americans correctly believe that the allegations against Kenneth Starr are far more serious, and his alleged misconduct—if it occurred—far more dangerous to our liberties.”

Now they’ll be working side-by-side to defend Trump. That could be fun.


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