United States Vs. Nixon (1974 - No. 73-1766)
Background: In June 1972, five men broke into the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. They had cameras and bugging equipment and were arrested with cameras and bugging equipment in hand. Police soon discovered that the burglars worked for the Committee to Re-Elect the President. President Nixon and leaders of his campaign denied any connection with the incident. Among the five men arrested was E. Howard Hunt, Jr., a former Nixon aide, and G. Gordon Liddy, a lawyer for the Committee to Re-elect the President. Shortly afterward, the presiding judge received a letter from one of the convicted men. It spoke of payoffs to the burglars in return for their silence.
In 1973, a Senate select committee began an investigation in the case. They soon learned that top members of the Nixon administration were involved in a cover-up of the break-in and several other illegal actions. The investigation also discovered that Richard Nixon had installed a taping system that automatically recorded all of his conversations between Nixon and his advisers. A special prosecutor appointed to probe the Watergate scandal subpoenaed the tapes. Nixon refused to release them, claiming they were protected under executive privilege. Nixon eventually released some of the tapes, but portions of them had been erased. Finally, another special prosecutor asked the United States Supreme Court to force Nixon to release all the tapes untouched and unedited.
Historical Context: In the early 1970s there was a growing distrust in the national government. The Pentagon Papers exposed the intentional deception of the American people about Vietnam. The National Guard opened fire at a Kent State University protest following President Nixon's authorization for the United States to attack Cambodia. Four students were killed from Kent State University. Nixon was attempting to cover up the illegal actions of him and his administration. Key Players:...
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