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A fake news story claimed that the lawyer who investigated former President Bill Clinton prior to his impeachment died in a plane crash while on his way to give testimony about former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
"Ken Starr’s plane just disappeared on his way to D.C. to testify against Hillary," read the headline on a March 24, 2017, post on ConservativeFlashNews.com. The post was flagged by Facebook users as potentially being fabricated, as part of the social media website’s efforts to curtail fake news.
While this post appears on several other websites, ConservativeFlashNews.com indicates that they "cannot make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information." There is no immediately apparent way to contact the site.
The story, which is fake, said Starr was flying to Washington when his plane crashed in Wilkershire, Md. — a town that, as far as we can tell, does not exist. The post said five people were killed in the crash.
The post also said that Starr was going to testify before "special investigative committee that has recently found itself investigating crimes from the 1990s," led by U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
Starr’s investigation into the Clintons, starting with former deputy White House counsel Vince Foster’s death and the Whitewater land deal, eventually unearthed details of Bill Clinton allegedly lying in a deposition about an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. The allegations in the Starr Report led to Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment.
More recently, Starr served as president and chancellor of Baylor University, but left amid accusations that he mishandled a sexual assault scandal to protect players on the school’s football team.
As for the story that he died, its origins have roots in a well-known source of fabricated news. ConservativeFlashNews.com copied the story that appeared on the same date on TheLastLineOfDefense.org. The post featured a photograph of a real fatal plane crash during a 2015 air show in England.
The site has been the source of several fake news stories that we’ve previously checked. As is the case here, TheLastLineOfDefense.org’s posts end up being passed around on multiple websites, often without attribution about its origin.
TheLastLineOfDefense.org doesn’t indicate that this or any other story is fake, but its About Us link notes that "all articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney."
There have been no real reports that Starr has died, and the story came from a known purveyor of contrived news stories.
We rate this statement Pants On Fire!
ConservativeFlashNews.com, "BREAKING: "Ken Starr’s Plane Just Disappeared On His Way To D.C. To Testify Against Hillary," March 24, 2017
TheLastLineOfDefense.org, "Remember Ken Starr? His Plane Just Disappeared On His Way To DC To Tesitify," March 24, 2017
New York Times, "THE STARR REPORT; Full Text of Findings Sent to Congress -- Part Five of Thirteen," Sept. 12, 1998
The Irish Times, "At least seven dead after small jet crashes on A27 in England," Aug. 22, 2015
The Atlantic, "The End of Ken Starr's Ties to Baylor University," Aug. 19, 2016
Washington Post, "Ex-Baylor president Ken Starr could get Trump administration position," Feb. 10, 2017
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