Newly named independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr on Monday announced his first appointments to fill out his Whitewater prosecution team and begin the transition from outgoing prosecutor Robert B. Fiske Jr.
Starr, a Republican who has been characterized as overly partisan by supporters of President Clinton, named two attorneys as his top deputies, including one holdover from Fiske’s team.
In addition, he appointed four more staff attorneys to continue the Whitewater-related investigations in offices in Washington and Little Rock, Ark., including one holdover from Fiske’s staff and others with strong ties to Republican legal circles.
Fiske’s staff pledged to provide an “orderly transition.”
Sources familiar with the special counsel’s inquiry said the transition to Starr appears to have led to delays in the probe, but that Starr may be in a position soon to decide whether to seek quick indictments based on Fiske’s work.
The first indictments probably would reflect the grand jury testimony of former Arkansas municipal judge David Hale, who alleges that he was pressured to make illegal loans to Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, which was owned by James B. McDougal, the partner of Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Whitewater real estate venture.
Neither the Clintons nor other current members of the Administration would be likely to be among those named in these possible early indictments.
Starr, solicitor general under former President George Bush, named Mark H. Tuohey as deputy independent counsel based in Washington, and William S. Duffey Jr., as deputy independent counsel based in Little Rock. Tuohey, who served in the Justice Department in the Jimmy Carter Administration, is now a partner in a Washington law firm and over the last year has served as president of the Washington, D.C., bar association. Duffey, an Atlanta lawyer, has been working in the special prosecutor’s Little Rock office under Fiske since February.
Russell (Rusty) Hardin Jr., another Fiske holdover, will continue as associate independent counsel in Little Rock and as senior trial counsel to Starr. Starr named Hickman Ewing Jr. as senior counsel in the special counsel’s Little Rock office. Ewing was a U.S. attorney in Tennessee under Reagan.
In addition, he named Alex M. Azar and Brett Kavanaugh as assistant independent counsels in Washington. Azar, an associate in Starr’s Washington law firm, once served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Kavanaugh was a law clerk for conservative Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and worked for Starr in the Bush Administration Justice Department.