Ken Starr and Jeffrey Epstein—A Timeline of Their Relationship

Ken Starr, the lawyer who investigated former President Bill Clinton over the Whitewater property deal and his affair with Monica Lewinsky, helped run a "scorched-earth" legal campaign on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein, a new book claims.

Epstein, who died in prison in 2019, was a billionaire financier and convicted sex offender accused of the abuse of multiple underage girls in 2008. He avoided prosecution when his attorneys cut a "sweetheart" deal with prosecutors.

Starr's role in negotiating that deal was already public knowledge but Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown claims in her new book, Perversion of Justice, that Starr was also involved in "campaigning to pressure the Justice Department to drop the case."

Brown's new book cites letters and emails sent by Starr and Jay Lefkowitz, who was a defense attorney for Epstein.

Starr allegedly wrote an eight-page letter to Deputy U.S. Attorney General Mark Filip, a former colleague at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis.

In that letter, Starr reportedly accused prosecutors in the case of trying to draw up a plea deal with Epstein that would benefit their friends. Epstein's legal team also allegedly took aim at Marie Villafaña, the lead federal prosecutor on the case, accusing her of trying to benefit a friend of her boyfriend via the plea deal. Villafaña denies this.

Starr issued a statement to Newsweek on Wednesday.

"It's not appropriate to discuss any counsel I or my law firm provided to a client. I have always tried to act with integrity and to be guided by the great principles of the American legal system," Starr said.

Starr's association with Epstein appears to have begun in 2007 when he joined the team defending the financier. The Palm Beach Post reported on September 12, 2007 that Starr had been brought to Palm Beach, Florida by private jet to discuss Epstein's defense.

In 2008, Epstein's attorneys negotiated a deal with Alex Acosta, who was then the top federal prosecutor in Miami. Acosta would go on to serve as Secretary of Labor under President Donald Trump. Under the terms of the deal, Epstein plead guilty to prostitution charges and served just 13 months in jail. During that prison term, he was allowed to work in his private office 12 hours a day, six days a week.

In 2018, Starr joined the Lanier Law Firm. In that same year, Julie K. Brown published a three-part series in The Miami Herald about the Epstein plea deal from 10 years earlier. Her report identified 80 potential victims of Epstein's sex trafficking, some as young as 13-years-old.

Brown's reporting led to a federal judge declaring the plea agreement illegal in 2019 and Epstein was arrested in July of that year on sex trafficking charges. He died in jail in August.

Acosta, who was by then Secretary of Labor in Trump's cabinet, resigned amid criticism of his handling of the deal. However, the plea deal was upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in April this year. It is possible that ruling will face further appeal.

Starr is best known for his role in investigations of former President Clinton. He was appointed independent counsel to investigate the Whitewater affair in 1994. Whitewater was a land deal involving the Clintons that was the subject of significant controversy at the time.

He also investigated the death of White House counsel Vince Foster and the president's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The investigations eventually led to Clinton's impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1998 and his eventual acquittal in the Senate. Starr faced criticism for his role as independent counsel, with some accusing him of pursuing a political agenda.

Star was also part of former President Trump's defense team for his Senate impeachment trial in 2020, arguing on Trump's behalf before the senators. Trump was ultimately acquitted.

Former Independent Counsel Ken Starr Answers Questions
Former Independent Counsel Ken Starr answers questions during a discussion held at the American Enterprise Institute September 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. A new book claims Starr was part of a "scorched-earth" campaign in defense of Jeffrey Epstein. Win McNamee/Getty Images