WASHINGTON -- Kenneth Starr, whose six-year investigation of former President Clinton began with Whitewater and ended with Monica Lewinsky, says Clinton's legal problems taught Americans they must be truthful, even if the truth is ugly.
"We do live under a system of law and we must do our very best to be law-abiding, even when the circumstances are embarrassing or difficult," Starr said Sunday.
The former independent counsel said the deal sealed by Clinton last week was a fitting end to an "unfortunate era."
The last-minute agreement between Clinton and Starr's successor, Robert Ray, was "a very reasonable and sensible solution" in which the retiring president "did acknowledge his responsibility and his shortcoming as a witness in the system," Starr said on CNN's "Late Edition."
On Friday, his last full day in office, Clinton spared himself possible indictment in the Lewinsky case by acknowledging for the first time that he had made false statements under oath about his relationship with the former White House intern. To end disbarment proceedings against him, Clinton agreed to let his Arkansas law license be suspended for five years and to pay a $25,000 fine.
The former president could have ended everything years ago by admitting wrongdoing, Starr said.
"It obviously would have been far better, less expensive, less divisive, if this acknowledgment would have come ... much earlier, say, in January of 1998," Starr said. "But better late than never, and that's what I think helps bring, properly and reasonably, closure."
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