A defiant Kenneth W. Starr last night defended his five-year tenure as independent counsel, sharply and sometimes sarcastically reproving student questioners who criticized his investigation.
And Starr sharply accused the Clinton Justice Department of hindering his own attempt to probe whether his prosecutors leaked information to the media.
Starr's appearance at the ARCO Forum was billed as a public address, and for 20 minutes, he delivered a prepared speech on the constitution and the independent counsel statute.
But his strongest and most passionate words came during the 45 minutes of questioning.
E. Clarke Tucker '01, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, was the first to question Starr.
Tucker said the intrusiveness of Starr's extensive corruption probe in his home state, which often dipped into the personal lives of the accused, "was the worst thing to happen in the history of our state."
"You were wrong. Will you admit to it?" Tucker asked.
Starr put his hands on the podium. "This has been very unhappy for Arkansas. But, Clarke, unfortunately for the state of Arkansas, it deserved better government than it had," he said.
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