Thursday, January 22, 1998 Published at 16:40 GMT
Kenneth Starr: On the trail of the President
The centre of attention: Kenneth Starr
He's finally got their attention.
After years of sorting through a sea of complex paperwork relating to the Whitewater real estate scandal, the US Independent Counsel, Kenneth Starr, has been delving into a Clinton scandal in which the American public is interested: his alleged affair with 21-year-old Monica Lewinsky.
Yet despite hundreds of headlines, interviews and statements, few people can say who Kenneth Starr really is.
Mr Starr goes to Washington
Friends say that he is a sensitive, deeply religious man, who likes to read the Bible every morning. His manner is genteel and distinguished. He rarely gives interviews to the press.
Even his critics do not doubt his integrity. They do, however, say he is not qualified for the job.
"Though he has outstanding political credentials and is admired as a legal intellect, Starr lacks the two main qualifications of an independent prosecutor - he is not independent and he has never prosecuted a case," accused an editorial in Newsday, alluding to Mr Starr's past work for Republican administrations.
Son of a preacher man
He clerked at the Supreme Court and later moved to Washington to work with President Ronald Reagan's Attorney General, his mentor William French Smith.
There, ironically, he helped draft the Reagan administration's opposition to the Independent Counsel statute, which allows for a special prosecutor to investigate the improprieties inside the Executive branch. (It failed.) He was later named President George Bush's Solicitor General.
According to one report, Mr Starr was restless after leaving the Solicitor General's office, when the Bush administration ended. He considered running for a Virginia Senate seat but later accepted the job of Independent Counsel after Attorney General Janet Reno's choice was deemed too partisan.
In his four years in the job, Mr Starr has weathered accusations of partisanship and desperate manoeuvres to bring down President Clinton.
But this time, all eyes are on Mr Starr. If he succeeds in proving the allegations, his long-running investigation could bring about the biggest crisis of the Clinton presidency and threaten its hold on power.