Former Rep. James Rogan, one of the 13 House managers during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, Wednesday on Newsmax remembered Ken Starr, the prosecutor in the case, as being "the nicest man I ever knew."
But Rogan, a California Republican, told Newsmax's "Wake Up America," that behind Starr's niceness was a "spine of iron."
"He was one of the most gifted lawyers of my lifetime, and it was really a great privilege to know him," said Rogan, who said he didn't know Starr until the impeachment trial and didn't become friends with him until after the proceedings.
"When you saw him on TV, he was in prosecutorial mode, but behind the scenes, he was gentle to the point of almost coming across as naive, and I think if you talk to any of Ken's friends, that they will tell you that that was a common trait that everybody recognized," said Rogan.
Starr, 76, died in Houston on Tuesday from complications of surgery, his family reported. He came to national prominence in 1998 as the special prosecutor investigating Clinton's perjury and affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Starr's report led to Clinton's impeachment, later becoming a bestseller that sold as "The Starr Report."
Rogan said that at the time people were accusing Starr's team of leaking information to the House impeachment managers, but that wasn't true.
"That not only wasn't true, but we were trying to get Ken's [team] to leak to get information. We couldn't get a drop out of them," said Rogan. "I'd never worked with Ken during impeachment. It was more like a relay race. His team operated in private.
"They kept the lid on what they were doing. We, in the House of Representatives, were waiting to get their report. They dropped off their report indicating various impeachable offenses, and then they backed off and then we took it from there."
But after the impeachment proceedings, Rogan, said, "I got to know the man behind the effort, and he was just one of the dearest people I've ever known in my life."
Rogan also recalled the time when they had both been invited to a Fourth of July picnic, which hundreds of people attended.
"I went to go do a hot dog run for us, and when they came back Ken was gone," said Rogan. "I looked around for him on the side of the building and he was blowing up balloon hats for all these little kids."
And when he asked Starr what he was doing, he said, 'Well, the balloon man took a break and I saw these kids standing around waiting to get their balloon hats, and I didn't want them to be disappointed.'"
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