Starr’s former mistress, Judi Hershman, wrote an in-depth Medium post about how her affair with Starr (begun during a 2009 bike trip in Tuscany, while their spouses were at dinner elsewhere) and how Starr’s fraudulent sanctimony greased the wheels for Epstein, Kavanaugh and Trump. It’s now too much for her to keep quiet.
And boy, does she have a lot to say!
Starr’s excusal of Brett Kavanaugh’s abusive and threatening behavior toward her when the three of them were working on the Clinton investigation seems to be the beginning of Hershman’s awakening. She describes Kavanaugh’s abusive behavior as terrifying: “He began berating me and invading my personal space in a deranged fury that sent me into flight around the table.” Starr refused to demand an apology from Kavanaugh and said he was destined for great things, according to Hershman.
Twenty years later, after Kavanaugh’s temper tantrum during his confirmation process, Hershman submitted a statement to two Democratic and two Republican senators about her own experience. She also contacted Starr, who did nothing. She did not contact the FBI, assuming they’d be investigating more serious accusations. Spoiler alert: they didn’t.
Later, Hershman wrote a piece for Slate about how Kavanaugh’s behavior and confirmation had motivated her, a Republican, to work to re-elect Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp. She also revealed how Starr swept Kavanaugh’s unfit behavior under the rug:
I was astonished and dismayed when I saw him go on CNN the week after the historic Ford-Kavanaugh hearings and use the words “unblemished” and “perfect” to describe his protégé’s “reputation for treating people with dignity and respect.” (In a statement, Starr confirmed that the author assisted him during the independent counsel investigation and wrote, “I do not recall any mention of any incident involving Brett Kavanaugh. To the contrary, throughout his service in the independent counsel’s office, now-Justice Kavanaugh comported himself at all times with high professionalism and respect toward all our colleagues.”)
That incident, in which Starr publicly called her a liar “made me begin to reexamine my entire association with him,” Hershman now says.
Starr’s cover-up of Jeffrey Epstein’s behavior was part of that re-examination:
There was the time in January 2010 when I saw [Starr] in California — he was then dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law — and he asked me, if on my next visit to South Florida, I could extend myself to counsel a “very wealthy, very smart businessman who got himself into trouble for getting involved with a couple of underage girls who lied about their ages.” I confess I did not recognize Jeffrey Epstein’s name at the time, but I knew what statutory rape was and I couldn’t understand why Ken Starr would be involved with him. “Is this a church thing?” I asked. “Are you trying to ‘cure’ him? Why would you do this!” It did not occur to me that he might have been part of the legal team that executed a secret and egregious sweetheart deal for the convicted pedophile or that the stickler for details I knew Starr to be might be grossly undercounting the victims in question. “Everyone deserves representation, Judi,” he said, adding, “He promised to keep it above 18 from now on.” According to an alleged victim statement after the fact, the middle-aged, child molestor, Jeffrey Epstein, did not keep his sex with girls above the age of 18.
Hershman says her affair with Starr ended without drama or fireworks and that the two maintained a friendly and supportive relationship. Then this happened, after Baylor University President Starr covered up a sexual assault scandal:
It was a an interview I watched in 2020 with one of Baylor’s aggrieved accusers that helped me understand how I could have been blind for so long to the pattern of misogyny coursing through Starr’s career. Describing a meeting with Starr about her ordeal, she said that he shed a tear along with her, made her feel heard, but did nothing to help get justice for her or the many other female students who came forward with allegations. Unless you count what he said in one interview, “We grieve for what happened. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t say it’s a new day. That’s the biblical perspective that we try to live up to here at Baylor University.” Shamelessly and effectively, he shoved rape allegations under the carpet in the name of Christianity.
Hershman is not just disgusted with Starr but she believes that (Republican) tolerance of what should be intolerable behavior now represents an existential threat to our democracy: “[T]oo many people like me stuck our heads in the sand, swallowed our doubts,” she said. Presumably, that is why she has gone public now:
It took me 20 years to pull my head out of the proverbial sand, but I can see clearly now all the harm Ken Starr has done from the 1990s and now beyond as he reaches for Mike Pence’s presumed coattails. Seeing him lend his practiced piety to a president who lies so much that he was considered by his previous lawyers to be a walking perjury machine along with his sanctimonious “Religious Liberty in Crisis” campaign that he is presently stumping around the country, has made my story suddenly feel urgent. It’s not just the hypocrisy, it’s the damage Starr’s sham moral authority has done to — our nation, to our people, and remember those children his client separated from their parents and put in cages at the border?
Gene Lyons wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times that although it’s long been obvious Starr is a sexual hypocrite, he has been depicted in the media as the epitome of pious by reporters who have benefitted from leaks from his team. Hershman’s piece should “drive what should be the last nail in the rotting coffin of his reputation,” Lyons said.
You can watch Starr cover up for Kavanaugh below, during a September, 2018 appearance on CNN: