August 15, 2018

Whitehouse Cheers Request for Report on Starr-Kavanaugh Grand Jury Leaking

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former United States Attorney, issued a statement today on a request to a federal court by the watchdog group American Oversight seeking to unseal a court-ordered report on possible violations of grand jury secrecy laws by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

Divulging grand jury information is a serious offense that no judge will take lightly.  It can put witnesses at risk, compromise important evidence, and threaten the integrity of entire investigations and prosecutions.  We know Ken Starr played a dangerous game of using the news media to prosecute his case in the court of public opinion, and we know that Brett Kavanaugh was an important part of Starr’s team.  This report may show us whether Kavanaugh stepped over a critically important line for all prosecutors – and help the American people decide whether Kavanaugh can be trusted on their Supreme Court.  I am glad to see action to bring it to light.”

Kavanaugh spent almost four years working on Special Counsel Kenneth Starr’s probe into conduct by President Bill Clinton during the 1990s.  Credible allegations have emerged that Brett Kavanaugh participated in the leaking of grand jury information during the course of the Starr investigation, and Kavanaugh has himself acknowledged having “spoken to reporters on background as appropriate or as directed.”  A lawsuit over the Starr team’s leaks at the time led to the commissioning of a special master’s report that, according to sources, “did not paint a rosy picture” of the independent counsel’s dealings with the media.  As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to hold hearings in early September on Kavanaugh’s nomination, American Oversight has asked Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to unseal the 1999 report.



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