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Starr spokesman resigns in wake of leaks investigation

March 11, 1999
Web posted at: 6:36 p.m. EST (2336 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 11) -- The spokesman for Independent Counsel Ken Starr, Charles Bakaly, has resigned following a preliminary internal inquiry into unauthorized leaks about Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton, Starr's office announced Thursday.

Starr said he had accepted Bakaly's resignation "with regret."

Bakaly
Charles Bakaly has resigned as Ken Starr's spokesman  

Bakaly's departure comes in the aftermath of what Starr describes as an internal investigation into the unauthorized leaks to The New York Times.

A January 31, 1999, Times story reported Starr was considering seeking a grand jury indictment of President Bill Clinton. The Times story quoted Starr associates who said Starr had concluded that he had the constitutional authority to indict the president while he is still in office.

The day after the news report was published, Bakaly denied that Starr's office was the source of the story. "We have no interest in interposing ourselves in the Senate's business," Bakaly told ABC's "Good Morning America."

But Starr promised to conduct an internal investigation into the allegations that someone associated with his office leaked the secret grand jury information to the newspaper.

In a statement announcing Bakaly's resignation issued late Thursday, Starr said, "After having been provided with the preliminary results of the internal investigation, this Office has referred the matter to the Department of Justice.

"This Office has determined that it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time," the statement continued.

Bakaly's resignation takes effect June 1, 1999. He is on paid administrative leave until then, Starr said.

The New York Times story appeared during a critical point in the Senate impeachment trial of Clinton on the charges that Starr had referred to Congress, stemming from his investigation of the president's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Critics of the independent counsel accused him of improperly injecting himself into the impeachment process and trying to sway the trial's outcome.

As a result of the Times story, the White House filed legal papers with the judge overseeing Starr's grand jury, U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson, seeking to have Starr and members of his staff held in contempt.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer contributed to this report.

Investigating the President

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Thursday, March 11, 1999

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