The three-judge panel that appointed independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr interviewed candidates to replace him yesterday, sources familiar with the matter said. Starr has told the panel he intends to leave his post by the end of October.
The head of the panel, U.S. Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle, appears on track to pick a replacement soon and meet Starr's timetable, sources said.
Although the independent counsel law expired in June, Attorney General Janet Reno determined that the special panel of judges has the authority to appoint a successor to complete Starr's investigation.
Starr's replacement will be responsible for completing inquiries into a few remaining matters, including first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's role in the firing of longtime staff at the White House travel office, and also will be charged with drafting a final report on the office's work.
Among those under consideration for the post are:
* Edward J. Page, a Starr deputy who conducted grand jury examinations of Secret Service agents and who helped write and edit Starr's referral to Congress that led to the House's impeachment of President Clinton. He has been on leave from his post as assistant U.S. attorney in Tampa since 1995.
* W. Hickman Ewing Jr., a Tennessee lawyer who worked as Starr's deputy in Little Rock, successfully prosecuting then-Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and the Clintons' partners in the Whitewater land deal. He also drew up a draft indictment of the first lady. Ewing worked for a decade as U.S. attorney in Memphis.
* Michael W. Emmick, a Starr deputy whose resume says his "principal substantive responsibility was the Lewinsky investigation." Emmick was involved in the office's controversial first encounter with Monica S. Lewinsky at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City.
* Jay Apperson, who was elevated to one of Starr's deputies in March and has overseen personnel and administrative functions for the office. He also participated in the investigation of former associate attorney general Webster L. Hubbell and has advised Starr on relations with the Justice Department and the FBI.
* Paul Rosenzweig, a senior litigation counsel for Starr. Rosenzweig was the first lawyer in Starr's office to learn that Linda Tripp had information she wanted to share with the independent counsel. He was informed about Tripp by a law school classmate who had worked on Paula Jones's sexual harassment case against the president, sparking allegations of collusion between Jones's attorneys and the independent counsel.
Staff writer Roberto Suro contributed to this report.