So You Think It's Over?

THE IMPEACHMENT trial will soon come to a close, but the scandal machinery grinds on: Ken Starr's office remains open for business. Here's a look at what's left on his plate.

Eyeing the president: Starr has believed for months that he has the constitutional authority to indict Clinton even while the president is still in office. Last week The New York Times put that story on the front page, and NEWSWEEK has learned that the ensuing debate left Clinton flustered. The president, said a close ally, ""is breathing deeply, trying to get through this.'' An indictment would mean more legal trouble, and could exact a financial cost as well: if Clinton's indicted he's not eligible to have his millions in legal fees reimbursed under the special-counsel law. Starr's friends doubt he'll actually indict the president, but the suspense could keep the scandal in the news.

Chasing the Clintonites: The special prosecutor hasn't given up on prosecuting several high-profile allies of the president's, most notably Webster Hubbell. Once the third-ranking Justice Department official, Hubbell's already done jail time for bilking his clients when he was in private practice. Now Starr wants to send Hubbell back to prison for alleged tax evasion. The prosecutor is also going after Hubbell on charges of lying to federal banking regulators over his role in an Arkansas development project. Hubbell denies the charges.

Other Starr targets include Susan McDougal, who was jailed for refusing to testify about Whitewater. She'll go on trial next month on a criminal-contempt charge for refusing to testify before Starr's grand jury. Julie Hiatt Steele, a key witness in the Kathleen Willey incident, has been indicted for making false statements and obstructing justice. Steele denies the charges. (Late last week, Steele served a subpoena for documents on NEWSWEEK's Michael Isikoff. In a separate civil case, Steele is suing NEWSWEEK, claiming the magazine brought her unwarranted publicity. The magazine is seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.) Meanwhile, Starr continues to investigate whether anyone tried to intimidate Willey to keep her from telling her story about her alleged encounter with the president.

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The Starr treatment: A Justice Department source tells NEWSWEEK that the department notified Starr in a recent letter that it intends to investigate his office's dealings with Monica Lewinsky during their first meeting on Jan. 16, 1998. At that session, Starr's office allegedly dangled an immunity agreement before Lewinsky on the condition that she not speak to her attorney. If true, that would be a violation of prosecutorial ethics. Starr denies the charge and has raised questions about whether conflict-of-interest rules prohibit the Justice Department from investigating him while he is in the midst of the Clinton probe. The matter is on hold pending a review of Starr's claims.

Another investigation has found 24 alleged leaks of grand-jury material from Starr's office to the media. While that probe continues, Starr has been forced to open an internal investigation into who told The New York Times about his thinking on the presidential indictment question. NEWSWEEK has learned that Starr has called in the FBI for help in this inquiry. Another probe of Starr is examining whether Whitewater witness David Hale got money and favors from an anti-Clinton group while he was in Starr's protective custody. Even a resolution in the Senate may not plug the drip, drip, drip of the Clinton scandals.

So You Think It's Over? | News