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Tuesday, October 19, 1999 Published at 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK

World: Americas

Starr hands over Clinton probe

Robert Ray and his wife, Kristen after swearing in

A new independent counsel has been appointed to replace Kenneth Starr, the US prosecutor whose inquiry into the Monica Lewinsky affair led to the impeachment of President Clinton.

The trial of the president
Robert Ray, who worked as Mr Starr's deputy for five months, has been sworn in by federal judges in Washington. One of the appointing judges pleaded with him to act with "deliberate speed".

Mr Ray promised to finish the five-year, $40m investigation in a "prompt, responsible and cost-effective manner".

He must decide whether to bring additional prosecutions and must write a final report on the wide-ranging investigation that began with Bill and Hillary Clinton's failed Whitewater land deal but then expanded to take in other White House controversies including alleged presidential perjury and obstruction in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

[ image: Mr Clinton tried to cover up his affair with Ms Lewinsky]
Mr Clinton tried to cover up his affair with Ms Lewinsky
Kenneth Starr's investigation of the President's affair with Monica Lewinsky and the subsequent cover up led to the first presidential impeachment since 1868.

Mr Clinton survived the vote in the Senate with strong Democrat support.

The contents of the final report could cause problems for Mrs Clinton if she decides to run for the Senate from New York.

Mr Ray, a career prosecutor, was a registed Democrat until January 1998, but is now registered as an unaffiliated voter. He has, in recent years, made donations in support of Republicans.

Mr Starr's investigation lost much public support in the face of strong criticism from White House supporters.

He has resigned to return to private legal practice.

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