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Appeals Court Won't Remove Whitewater Prosecutor

[Kenneth Starr]

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 30) -- Two U.S. senators seeking the removal of Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr were rebuffed today by the court that appointed him.

"This court has no power of removal over independent counsels," U.S. Court of Appeals Judge David Sentelle wrote in a letter to Sens. Bennett Johnston (D-La.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Sentelle informed them that by law, only Attorney General Janet Reno has the authority to remove Starr.

Because his private practice includes clients opposed to the president's agenda, Starr has been increasingly criticized for what opponents say are conflicts of interest in his work investigating the Whitewater affair. Johnston and Reid, in a complaint to Sentelle's three-member court, accused Starr, a Republican, of "partisanship, partiality and prejudice" against Clinton, reasons for dismissal.

That's a faulty argument, according to Sentelle. "The independence contemplated by the (law) has always been universally understood as an independence from the administration under investigation, not an independence from the entire American political system."

Starr has defended his actions as proper and Reno has not made known any inclinations to remove Starr.

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