Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater
 
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The Starr Chamber and the Future of American Democracy The Starr Report

1 2 3 5                                                                          p.4

Monica did refuse, so the next trap was set: Some woman (most likely La Tripp herself) called Paula Jones' lawyers and filled them in on the questions to ask Bill Clinton about Monica Lewinsky in his upcoming deposition. Clinton, believing Monica when she told him she had told no one about their affair (HA! Only eleven people!), walked right into the trap.

Starr most deviously went to Attorney General Janet Reno and asked for an extension of his Whitewater mandate, citing obstruction of justice---- the so-called "talking points" that Bill Clinton was supposed to have given Monica to suggest to Linda. You will not find anything about the "talking points" in the Report! Monica says she created them herself with some help from Linda. (Linda denies any part in their creation.) The grounds on which Starr obtained his license to invade Bill Clinton's sex life turned out to be without foundation.

It's against the law in Maryland to tape a person without his consent. But Linda is safe--- Starr gave her immunity from prosecution. Also Monica. Also Monica's mother. Which I suppose means that Clinton could never be able to sue them to recover damages.

Starr's Perversion of the Grand Jury Procedure
(or Alice in Wonderland Revisited)

The way a grand jury is supposed to operate: First a crime is committed. There is a possible or probable culprit. A grand jury is formed to subpoena witnesses, hear testimony, and decide whether there are sufficient grounds to indict the target for that crime. The records are sealed because
a) the target and his attorney have not had the opportunity to confront and cross-examine the witnesses
b) there may be material that would be harmful to innocent people
c) the witnesses have been promised secrecy.

In this case first the target (Clinton) is named. Two grand juries are formed with unlimited powers to go on fishing expeditions to find a crime. Supposed statements of witnesses are leaked with regularity to several journalists favored by the prosecutor. Clinton has not had the opportunity to confront and cross-examine any of the witnesses. First the verdict and maybe never the trial.

What a monstrous perversion of the law! Still it took over 4 years, over $45 million, a faithless friend, and a most determined prosecutor to produce this pitiful result.

Maybe this injustice to Clinton will cause this country to start evaluating the function of grand juries. When we inherited this concept from English Common Law, the grand jury was seen as a protection for the people against the government or powerful individuals. Lately it seems to be used as a fishing expedition by over-zealous prosecutors with no Bill of Rights for the targets. Great Britain abolished the grand jury several decades ago.

This is a CIVIL LIBERTIES issue.

If this can happen to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, the same could happen to you or me if our activities, influence, knowledge or opinions become inconvenient in any way to those in power. We may be witnessing the decisive battle in the Culture War that has been going on for the last decade or so. If the Religious Right and the Christian Coalition win this one, watch out! Are we going to have privacy in the bedroom or will the government have the power to legislate what kind of sex is legal? (Twenty-one states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books.) Will Roe v. Wade continue to stand or will its provisions be whittled away a month at a time? Will we have an Istook Amendment to the Constitution or will we maintain our First Amendment guaranteed separation of church and state? The Religious Right is determined that THEIR ideas on what is RIGHT and MORAL must prevail and be the law of the land for all. I urge everyone to write or e-mail all in Congress and express your indignation--- ask for censure of Starr, not Clinton.

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This site was last changed November 28, 2001. It was created on March 20, 1997.

© Janette Rainwater 1997-2001

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