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Starr: Justice Outweighs Executive Privilege

Associated Press
Sunday, October 25, 1998; Page A05

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 24—The needs of the criminal justice system outweigh a president's right to keep secret information shared with aides, independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr said today.

Paraphrasing a letter written by retired Supreme Court Justice Byron White regarding the case of former president Richard M. Nixon, Starr told a legal forum at the University of Minnesota that "the needs of the criminal justice system are paramount, and they should carry the day."

Starr joined other legal experts in dissecting United States v. Richard Nixon, which led to the 1974 Supreme Court ruling that curbed claims of executive privilege and forced Nixon to release the tapes that led to his resignation.

Starr, who has challenged President Clinton's claims of executive privilege, cited the Nixon case in his report to Congress but did not directly mention the Clinton case today.

The president continues to use executive privilege claims to shield White House lawyers from answering certain questions about the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal. Clinton claims that the executive privilege doctrine entitles him to discuss matters freely with his aides, without fear that the information will be released to the public.

A federal district court has ruled against the White House on that question, but the president has renewed the claims on behalf of some of his aides.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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