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Starr's office sends investigative report to Justice

March 12, 1999
Web posted at: 3:31 p.m. EST (2031 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 12) -- Independent Counsel Ken Starr's office formally sent a preliminary investigative report to the Justice Department Friday outlining potential misconduct concerning an alleged leak of information about the probe of President Bill Clinton.

Starr's formal referral comes a day after Charles Bakaly announced he was resigning as the independent counsel's spokesman and counselor, amid allegations he may have been the source of an unauthorized disclosure of information. Bakaly denies leaking information.

Bakaly
Starr spokesman Charles Bakaly is resigning, effective June 1, 1999  

The sanctions for unauthorized leaks by Justice Department officials range from criminal prosecution to professional sanction.

The allegations stem from a January 31, 1999 New York Times story saying that Starr was considering seeking a grand jury indictment of Clinton. The news report quoted Starr associates who said that the independent counsel had concluded that he had the constitutional authority to indict the president while he is still in office.

The day after the Times article 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."

The newspaper account, which came during the Senate impeachment trial, prompted an angry response from Clinton's attorney. The White House had 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.

At the time, Starr's office was already the subject of a leak investigation by the Judge Johnson and the independent counsel promised to conduct an internal investigation into the allegations that someone associated with his office leaked the secret grand jury information.

It was the preliminary results of that probe that were sent to the Justice Department.

Bakaly has promised to cooperate with the Justice probe. His resignation takes effect June 1, 1999. He is on paid administrative leave until that date, Starr said.

CNN's Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.

Investigating the President

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Friday, March 12, 1999

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