Judges interview possible Starr successors
September 30, 1999
Web posted at: 3:06 p.m. EDT (1906 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Several possible successors to Independent Counsel Ken Starr were interviewed Wednesday by the federal judges who oversee the independent counsels, sources knowledgeable with the operation of Starr's office confirm to CNN.
The sources say that among those interviewed was Starr's deputy, Hickman Ewing. Ewing ran the Arkansas part of Starr's Whitewater investigation and wrote a test draft of an indictment against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Another prosecutor interviewed, sources confirm, was Michael Emmick, who played a key role in sex-and-perjury investigation of President Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Starr's office had no comment about the interviews.
On August 18, CNN reported Starr had been involved in "theoretical discussions" about stepping down as independent counsel before all the loose ends in the Whitewater investigation, which began in Clinton's first term, are resolved.
Although the law authorizing the appointment of independent counsels recently expired, Starr's investigation as well as the other independent counsel investigations still under consideration remain in place.
Starr could face criticism for failing to be available to answer congressional questions about his investigation if he left before a final report was issued. However a former Starr deputy has said it would be fine for him to leave.
"I think it's perfectly proper for him to leave. You could criticize somebody at any point along the line when they want to leave but if anybody has paid his dues, Ken Starr has," said Sol Wisenberg, who was a former deputy independent counsel on Starr's team.
Starr has been told by Justice Department officials they probably would be unable to take over his unfinished investigation of the Clintons, leaving the door open for one of Starr's deputies to step in and make the final report.
Starr resigned once before in February 1997 to take a job at Pepperdine University in California. But he withdrew his resignation within days after coming under heavy criticism for leaving the post before his investigation was completed.
Among Starr's unfinished business: issuing a final report to the court that appointed him on his entire investigation and wrapping up loose ends of two criminal probes. Sources have said they include the White House travel office firings and an alleged effort by Democratic Party fundraiser Nathan Landow to influence Kathleen Willey's grand jury testimony. She's accused the president of groping her in the White House.
Sources have said it's highly unlikely Starr would indict either the president or the first lady.
CNN's Bob Franken contributed to this report.