Appeals court halts investigation into alleged Starr leak
President's lawyer to appeal ruling
By BOB FRANKEN/CNN
September 13, 1999
Web posted at: 6:13 p.m. EDT (2213 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A three-judge federal appeals court panel Monday gave Independent Counsel Ken Starr a victory in one of the investigations into grand jury leaks during last year's Monica Lewinsky investigation.
The ruling concerns an October 31, 1998 New York Times article, reporting that Starr's prosecutors had decided a sitting president could be indicted.
President Bill Clinton's private lawyer, David Kendall, said he will appeal the ruling of the three judges to the full court of appeals.
Deciding that "disclosures made in the New York Times article do not constitute a prima facie (on its face) violation of Rule 6E," which makes it illegal to disclose proceedings before a grand jury, the judges reversed U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson and ordered her to dismiss the matter.
"We have not concluded,", the judges wrote, "Rule 6E to require that a `veil of secrecy be drawn over all matters occurring in the world that happen to be investigated by a grand jury'"
In fact, they went on, "prosecutors often have a legitimate interest in revealing aspects of their investigation."
It is illegal under rule 6E to disclose grand jury material. Clinton's lawyers argued the newspaper article demonstrated that Starr's office had violated the rule.
During the investigation into the New York Times story, Starr's spokesman, Charles Bakaly, was forced to resign. His case is still unresolved.
This is just one of the leak investigations under way against Starr's office. The president's lawyers were successful last summer in convincing Johnson there were 24 news stories that showed direct evidence of leaks from Starr's office of grand jury information. That investigation is still pending.
Monday, September 13, 1999