Lewinsky says Starr’s death is painful ‘for those who love him’

NEW YORK — Monica Lewinsky had a tempered and sympathetic response to the death of Ken Starr, the former independent attorney whose investigation of Bill Clinton helped expose his affair with the president and, she once wrote, makes his life a “living hell”.

“As I’m sure many can relate to, my thoughts on Ken Starr stir up some complicated feelings,” she tweeted on Tuesday after learning that Starr had died at 76. who love him. »

Lewinsky was a White House intern in the mid-1990s, early 20s, when she began a relationship with Clinton, a relationship that Starr would document extensively and explicitly. Starr had originally been retained to investigate a real estate transaction in Arkansas that Bill and Hillary Clinton were involved in, but his investigation changed after learning of allegations about the president’s private behavior. Lewinsky denied their affair in an affidavit, but was unaware that his former colleague, Linda Tripp, recorded their phone conversations about Bill Clinton and would turn them over to Starr.

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Lewinsky would remember with horror being interrogated for hours in 1998 by Starr’s prosecutors – but not Starr himself – and threatened with jail time if she did not cooperate with their investigation, a request she initially refused. Months later, she agreed to testify in the case and handed prosecutors a sperm-stained robe from the president, in exchange for immunity.

Lewinsky later wrote that she had been diagnosed with “post-traumatic stress disorder, mainly due to the ordeal of being publicly denounced and ostracized”, and that she had been subjected to jokes for years. coarse. But from a Vanity Fair essay in 2014 and a TED talk she gave in 2015 on “The Price of Shame,” she became a well-respected anti-bullying activist. David Letterman and John Oliver are among those who have apologized for once making fun of her.

Writing in Vanity Fair in 2018, Lewinsky recalled finally meeting Starr in person, at a restaurant in Greenwich Village the previous Christmas Eve. Starr came forward with a “warm, incongruous smile” and introduced himself to Lewinsky, who was having dinner with his family.

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“Ken Starr asked me several times if I was ‘fine.’ A stranger could have guessed from his tone that he had in fact worried about me over the years. between avuncular and scary. He kept touching my arm and elbow which made me feel uncomfortable,” she wrote.

“I turned around and introduced him to my family. As bizarre as it may seem, I felt determined, on the spot, to remind him that, 20 years prior, he and his team of prosecutors never had not only harassed and terrorized me, but also my family – threatening to sue my mother (if she did not disclose the private confidences I had shared with her), implying that they would investigate my father’s medical practice , and even deposing my aunt, with whom I was having dinner that evening.”

Starr would write about Lewinsky in his 2018 memoir “Contempt”, describing how “Monica screamed, she cried, she pouted and complained bitterly about her scheming and unhelpful so-called friend (Tripp)” . But their threats and Lewinsky’s mother’s insistence on accepting prosecutors’ terms didn’t change his mind.

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“Monica canceled her mother. She would fall on her sword rather than involve the President of the United States,” Starr wrote. “It was becoming increasingly clear: thinking she was a naïve, starstruck young woman in love who would cooperate quickly, we underestimated her. In her determination to protect the president, Monica kept a team of agents experienced FBI and career prosecutors who twiddle their thumbs for much of the day.

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