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Memoir on Being Original Attorney for the Watergate Seven, by Douglas Caddy

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From there I drove to the White House Annex – the Old Executive Office Building, in bygone years the War Department and later the Department of State.

Carrying three heavy attaché cases, I entered the Pennsylvania Avenue door, showed my blue-and-white White House pass to the uniformed guards, and took the elevator to the third floor. I unlocked the door of 338 and went in. I opened my two-drawer safe, took out my operational handbook, found a telephone number and dialed it.

The time was 2:13 in the morning of June 17, 1972, and five of my companions had been arrested and taken to the maximum-security block of the District of Columbia jail. I had recruited four of them and it was my responsibility to get them out. That was the sole focus of my thoughts as I began talking on the telephone.

But with those five arrests the Watergate affair had begun….

After several rings the call was answered and I heard the sleepy voice of Douglas Caddy. ‘Yes?’

Doug? This is Howard and I hate to wake you up, but I’ve got a tough situation and I need to talk to you. Can I come over?

‘Sure. I’ll tell the desk clerk you’re expected.’

I’ll be there in about 20 minutes, I told him, and hung up.

From the safe I took a small money box and removed the $10,000 Liddy had given me for emergency use. I put $1,500 in my wallet and the remaining $8,500 in my coat pocket. The black attaché case containing McCord’s electronic equipment I placed in a safe drawer that held my operational notebook. Then I closed and locked the safe, turning the dial several times. The other two cases I left beside the safe, turned out the light and left my office, locking the door.

-- E. Howard Hunt, Undercover: Memoirs of an American Secret Agent (Berkley, 1974)

Howard Hunt accurately describes how I got involved as his attorney in Watergate within hours after the burglars were arrested. Yet to my mind my entry in the case began indirectly two months earlier, in April 1972, when I was called into the office of John Kilcullen, a partner in the Washington law firm of Gall, Lane, Powell and Kilcullen where I worked. Kilcullen, a loyal Republican as was I, declared, “Doug, our firm has been asked to volunteer an attorney to work for the Lawyers Committee for the Re-Election of the President and you are being volunteered. Call George Webster, the Committee’s chairman, and get your assignment.” So I called Webster, who told me to report to John Dean, Counsel to the President.

During my first meeting with John Dean in his White House office, shown on his appointment calendar as April 25, he gave me my first assignment. This was to research contributions to candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, one of whom was certain to oppose Richard Nixon in the November election. Over the next two months Dean gave me additional run-of-the-mill assignments. The last one that his office gave me took me to syndicated columnist Jack Anderson to get any background information Anderson might have not used in a recent newspaper column he wrote about Democratic Senator Edmund Muskie, one of the presidential contenders. This was on the day before the arrests of the burglars at Watergate.

The significance of my doing volunteer work under the direction of John Dean beginning in April 1972 will become apparent as I relate here how Watergate evolved in the first weeks of the case and how the ultimate outcome of the case could and should have been vastly different but for Dean. This will include Dean selecting me to be the first person approached to pass “hush” money to the five arrested burglars and to Hunt and Gordon Liddy and my refusal to do so; Dean withholding vital information from President Nixon, as shown by the Oval Office tapes of July19 and 20, 1972, about my campaign volunteer work under Dean’s direction and his attempt to get me to distribute the hush money. This untold story of Watergate is essential history because the entire case could have been resolved in the first month or so had it not been for Dean devising a secret agenda for his own purpose to protect himself from the legal consequences of certain of his activities prior to Watergate even if ultimately it meant the betrayal of President Nixon and of the nation.

Dean tells his latest version of Watergate in his new book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It (Viking, 2014). The book’s publication was timed with the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s resignation. Critics of the book have attacked it for being misleading and deficient in its history of the scandal. We shall have to wait and see if somewhere down the road Dean repudiates what he has written as he did with his first book, Blind Ambition.

The Washington Times of February 12, 1996, “Dean Disavows much of ‘Blind Ambition’” reported that Dean, “who brought down President Nixon in the Watergate scandal, has disavowed his best-selling book on the cover-up.

“The book, ‘Blind Ambition,’ portrayed Mr. Dean as a hero of conscience who eliminated ‘a cancer on the presidency.’ In its forward, Mr. Dean vouches for the book’s accuracy, offering to take a lie-detector test.

“Now Mr. Dean says he didn’t write key portions. Nor did he even read the entire book. ‘I have never gone through the book cover to cover,’ he said.

“In sworn depositions that have been obtained by The Washington Times, Mr. Dean said that key elements of the book were actually pure ‘speculation,’ ‘reasonable conjecture’ and ‘distortion.’”

Another significant event for me also happened in April 1972 besides that involving Dean. Hunt asked me to join him and Lawrence Houston, General Counsel to the CIA, at a restaurant on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. Houston asked if I were interested in going to work for the CIA and said that if I did, my assignment would be to construct a luxurious hotel on the sea shore in Nicaragua into which the Communist Sandinista leaders would be lured and compromised. I told Houston and Hunt that I would have to think about their proposal, but in my mind I already knew it was something I could not pursue for personal reasons.

How I met Howard Hunt

Before going any further I should explain in round about fashion how Hunt and I had become friends and how he later became a law client.

My first foray into politics took place in 1954 while I still in high school in New Orleans when I set up a card table in Jackson Square in front of St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter to collect signatures on petitions to support Senator Joseph McCarthy in his fight against being censured by the U.S. Senate. I had no trouble getting the petitions signed, as McCarthy was a Catholic as were those attending services at the Cathedral. I sent my completed petitions to a national group headed by General Bonner Fellers.

Among the people I met in this endeavor was former FBI agent Guy Banister. I attended several meetings with him concerning the city’s Aaron Kohn Crime Commission, and at one time he and I were featured speakers at a public event. There is a certain historical irony in all of this because in 1955 and 1956, within a five-minute walk from Banister’s office lived Lee Harvey Oswald with his mother on Exchange Place in the French Quarter. Oswald then was in high school, as was I although at a different school. Years later, after Oswald had returned from Russia and not long before the JFK assassination, he and Banister had a relationship that some have speculated made the latter Oswald’s handler. Almost a decade later I came to represent Howard Hunt, who as he approached death, gave a confession that he was a “bench warmer” in JFK’s killing. Who among the three of us -- Oswald, Banister and me – being in close proximity in New Orleans in 1955 and 1956 might have had any inkling what fate had in store?

In 1956, after I was graduated from high school, I enrolled at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in the nation’s capital. While there I was offered a part-time working scholarship at Human Events, the conservative publication. The conservative movement at that time was non-existent. A friend and I decided to form the National Student Committee for the Loyalty Oath to keep the oath in the National Defense Education Act. Senator John Kennedy was sponsor of legislation to remove it. The formation of our committee in 1958 put us in contact with several dozen other students around the country who considered themselves conservative. In 1959, when it was widely acknowledged that Richard Nixon would be the GOP Presidential candidate the next year, my friend and I formed Youth for Goldwater for Vice President.

Upon graduation from Georgetown in 1960, I went to work for Marvin Liebman Associates in New York City in charge of the McGraw-Edison Company account. I began working closely with former New Jersey Democratic governor Charles Edison, the chairman of the company, who lived in the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria. His neighbors in the Towers were Herbert Hoover and General Douglas MacArthur. Charles Edison, who had served in the Roosevelt Administration, was the son of Thomas Edison and looked exactly like his father. Governor Edison’s political philosophy was that the American eagle should have two strong wings, a right wing and a left wing, if it is to fly and soar. With his support, our Youth for Goldwater organization opened headquarters in the Pick Congress Hotel during the July 1960 Republican convention in Chicago at which Nixon was nominated. Goldwater came to our headquarters during the convention and urged us not to let the organization die but to form a permanent conservative youth group. William F. Buckley, for whose magazine National Review I had written an article while still a student at Georgetown, was present and offered his family estate, Great Elm, in Sharon, Connecticut, to be the site for the creation of the new organization. In September 1960, 60 young conservatives from around the country gathered to found Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). I was elected as its National Director. The following year YAF held a wildly successful mass rally at Manhattan Center on 34th Street in New York City. This marked the beginning of the modern conservative movement (which in my opinion in recent decades has been hijacked by sociopaths and opportunists).

In 1962 I enrolled in New York University Law School attending night classes. During the day I worked in Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s Manhattan office at 22 West 55th Street, where I served on the staff of Lt.-Gov. Malcolm Wilson, who was as conservative as Rockefeller was liberal. I lived in a spectacular coop on East 72nd Street owned by journalist Alice Widener that had sweeping views of Manhattan and the East River. Barron’s Financial Weekly often published articles by Alice and she had Robert Bleiberg, its editor, and James Dines of The Dines Letter as a frequent dinner guests. She also was in direct contact with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover because posing as Alice Berezowsky, widow the famed Russian orchestra conductor Nicholas Berezowsky who was her first husband, she attended inner sanctum meetings of the Communist Party unbeknownst to those in attendance that she was a clandestine FBI informant. Alice was a true patriot.

Upon graduation from law school I went to work for General Foods Corporation in White Plains. General Foods in 1969 sent me to Washington to be its Washington representative. For the first year I was to work out of the Robert Mullen Company, which General Foods retained as its public relations firm. In 1970 Howard Hunt joined the Mullen Company staff, having been placed there by Richard Helms, the CIA director, upon Hunt’s apparent retirement from that agency. Hunt and I soon found we had Buckley as a friend in common: he was godfather to Hunt’s children and had worked under Hunt for the CIA in Mexico City years earlier. It wasn’t until 1974 that I learned definitively from a Senate Watergate Committee supplementary report issued by Senator Howard Baker that the Mullen Company was a CIA front and had been incorporated by the CIA in 1959. My employer at the time, General Foods knew this, but kept the information from me when I was transferred from its headquarters to Washington, D.C. to work out of the Mullen Company.

In 1971 I left General Foods and became an attorney employed by the Washington law firm of Gall, Lane, Powell & Kilcullen. Hunt became an early client and Robert M. Scott, a partner of the law firm, and I represented him for more than a year on sundry personal legal matters. Then the Watergate case broke on June 17, 1972.

The burglars’ arrests at Watergate

The arrests of the burglars at Watergate took place sometime soon after midnight. As recounted by Hunt in his autobiography previously cited, he called me from his White House office after he and Gordon Liddy had fled their room in the Watergate Hotel upon being alerted that the police had caught the five burglars. Shortly after calling me he arrived at my apartment located less than a mile from both the White House and Watergate.

Hunt explained to me what had occurred inside the Democratic National Committee headquarters at Watergate culminating in the arrests of James McCord and the four Cuban-Americans. I was appalled at what I heard and immediately realized the dire threat it posed as a criminal case to the survival of the Nixon Administration.

From my apartment Hunt telephoned Liddy whom I had come to know because George Webster at one point had assigned me to do election law research for Liddy in the latter’s capacity as Legal Counsel to the Finance Committee for the Re-Election of the President. Shortly before 5 a.m. both Hunt in my apartment and Liddy on the telephone with me retained my services as their attorney to represent them and the five arrested burglars in the case. I telephoned Robert M. Scott, the partner of the law firm who in the past had worked with me on Hunt’s personal legal affairs, and briefed him on what had transpired and the need to obtain an attorney skilled in criminal law to assist me in the case. His spontaneous reaction was “they must have been set up.” Scott said that he would immediately call his nephew. He soon called back and said that he had talked to his nephew and then had arranged for a criminal law attorney, Joseph Rafferty, to assist me. Hunt departed my apartment, some four hours after the burglars’ arrests, and proceeded to his home, Witches Island, in Potomac, Maryland. His son, Saint John Hunt, has recounted what happened upon his arrival home and in the days immediately thereafter in his illuminating book, Bond of Secrecy: My Life with CIA Spy and Watergate Conspirator E. Howard Hunt (TrineDay, 2012).

My intent and that of Joseph Rafferty was to get the five arrested burglars out on bail as soon as possible without attracting undue publicity. That proved impossible because, as I learned later, Carl Shoffler, the police officer who arrested them, had telephoned Washington Post within a few hours of the arrests and alerted the paper to the significance of the event at Watergate. Shoffler, who was a military intelligence officer assigned to the Washington police, had as his goal to bring down President Nixon. Those wishing additional information about a nefarious and clandestine military intelligence operation operating inside the Nixon White House without the president’s knowledge should consult Silent Coup: The Removal of a President by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin (St. Martin’s Press, 1991.)

As the five were being arraigned in court late that Saturday, a Post reporter named Bob Woodward, himself a former military intelligence agent assigned to the Nixon White House, sought me out. I found myself in the awkward position of providing evasive answers because at that point few persons knew of the involvement of Hunt and Liddy, and anything I might say could place them in legal jeopardy. The Post the next day carried an article that Woodward helped write, “5 held in Plot to Bug Democrats.” The article described me as “one of the attorneys for the five men” and noted that “Caddy, who says he is a corporate lawyer, attempted to stay in the background at yesterday’s 4 p.m. court hearing. He…brought another attorney…who has experience in criminal law, to do the arguing.”

While I was in the federal courthouse working on the case on June 28, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Campbell approached me and handed me a subpoena to appear “forthwith” before the federal grand jury that had been convened to investigate the case. Campbell then grabbed me by the arm and physically pulled me into the grand jury room. Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Silbert immediately began asking me questions and demanding answers as the grand jurors looked on. The Post on July 2 carried another article, “Jury Probes Lawyer in ‘Bug” Case” that reported, “During an extraordinary court proceeding yesterday, it was revealed that the attorney, Douglas Caddy, has been questioned at least twice about the possible involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency in the case. And Caddy was ordered to testify before a federal grand jury about his relationship with Howard Hunt, the one-time White House consultant.

“When asked about Hunt, Caddy invoked the attorney-client privilege, refused to testify, and then asked to leave the grand jury room to consult with his own attorney, Silbert said.

“He [silbert] told Judge Sirica that Caddy’s conduct was ‘specious, dilatory and… an obstruction of justice.’”

I answered hundreds of questions, and even had my bank account subpoenaed by the prosecutors but I refused to answer 38 key questions that had been publicized by the prosecution and which attempted, through my lips as their defense attorney, to implicate and incriminate Hunt and Liddy. My refusals to answer were based on the advice of five senior attorneys who included three former Assistant U.S. Attorneys, all of whom strongly believed that my answering the 38 questions would violate the attorney-client privilege. For example, two questions asked were, “At what time did you receive a telephone call in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 17, 1972?” and “From whom did you receive a telephone call in the early morning hours of June 17, 1972?” Obviously if I answered these two questions and the remaining 36 queries Hunt and Liddy would inevitably have been implicated in the break-in, although they had not been arrested.

Judge Sirica holds me in contempt of court

On July 12, less than a month after the arrests of the five burglars, Chief Judge John Sirica, in a courtroom packed with the press, viciously attacked me and impugned my professional integrity. The Judge declared:

“You see, to put the matter perfectly bluntly, if the government is trying to get enough evidence to indict Mr. Caddy as one of the principals in this case even though he might not have been present at the time of the alleged entry in this place, I don’t know what the evidence is except what has been disclosed here, if the government is trying to get an indictment against Mr. Caddy and he feels that way and you feel it and the rest of your attorneys feel it, all he has to say is I refuse to answer on the grounds what I would say would tend to incriminate me. That ends it. I can’t compel him to say he knows Mr. Hunt under the circumstances. He doesn’t do that, understand? He takes the other road. He says there is a confidential communication. Who is he to be the sole judge whether or not it is confidential or not? That is what I am here for.”

Sirica then declared that unless I answered the 38 questions the next day before the grand jury, he would hold me in contempt of court and jail me. Woodward in an article in the Post the next day, “ ‘Bug’ Case Attorney to Testify,’ wrote that “After Sirica announced that Caddy must answer or go to jail, Robert M. Scott, one of Mr. Caddy’s attorneys, said, ‘This is very harsh treatment.’

“Caddy’s attorney did disclose to the court that Caddy has been before the grand jury three times for a total of about 14 hours and answered all but roughly 10 percent of about 14 hours of the 300 to 400 questions asked him.”

The next day, July 13, I again went before the grand jury and refused to answer the 38 questions on the grounds that to do so would violate the attorney-client privilege. A short time later I was back before Judge Sirica.

John Powell, whose reputation as a leader of the Bar had been praised by Sirica during the hearing the day before, spoke on my behalf:

Your Honor, the professional burden I carry at the moment weighs very heavy on me and I shall be extreme glad when these issues are resolved. Mr. Caddy has been asked questions pertaining to his relations with a number of people, all of whom have been his clients, some of whom are his friends. It is therefore apparent that the answers he gives may have long-lasting and profound effect on both his professional and his private life. After much soul-searching and prolong conferences last night after we left this courthouse, with some 6 or 8 attorneys present, Mr. Caddy was advised that in light of these foregoing factors and the seriousness of the of the legal questions involved he should not answer until the United States Court of Appeals for this circuit has ruled on the matter. He is prepared once the Court of Appeals has ruled to follow that ruling and to appear immediately before the grand jury and answer the questions according to the Court of Appeals’ ruling. We on our part are prepared to file an appeal upstairs with the Clerk of the United States Court of Appeals and have papers present here in the courtroom. The only request I have, Your Honor, is in view of these circumstances Your Honor would commit Mr. Caddy to my custody pending the ruling of the Court of Appeals. Needless to say, I warrant that he will be here when the Court wants him.

Judge Sirica, before holding me in contempt of court, then asked me if I had anything to say. I responded tersely, “I would just indicate that I did invoke the lawyer-client privilege to these questions and I did so upon the instructions of my clients who asked me not to waive the privilege.” After reading his order holding me in contempt, Sirica told me to step back and placed me in the custody of the U.S. Marshal. I was immediately led from the courtroom. After spending a short time in the cellblock directly behind Sirica’s courtroom, I was taken down the elevator to the basement and placed behind bars in the central cellblock imprisoning people awaiting their various trials upstairs.

The New York Times article of July 14, “Lawyer Held in Contempt in Democratic Raid Inquiry,” written of course the day before said in part:

“A 34-year-old lawyer was found in contempt of court in refusing to answer a series of grand jury questions about the June 17 raid on the offices of the Democratic National Committee….

“Late this afternoon, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stayed the penalty pending a hearing …. Mr. Caddy was then released without bond.”

On July 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Sirica’s order holding me in contempt. Its order was gratuitously insulting regarding my attorney-client privilege relationship with Howard Hunt. The court declared that “Even if a relationship does exist, certain communications, such as a consultation in furtherance of a crime, are not within the privilege.”

The Oval Office Tapes

My going back before the grand jury was the subject of a discussion between President Nixon and John Ehrlichman on July 19, 1972, as disclosed in the Oval Office tapes:

Ehrlichman: That fellow [Douglas] Caddy, the lawyer who wouldn’t answer questions because it was privileged communications, refused to answer, the Judge cited him for contempt. He appealed it to the local Court of Appeals. They affirmed the trial judge and he’s now down there answering questions, as far as I know.

President Nixon: That’s probably what’s breaking it up.

Ehrlichman: It could well be.

President Nixon: Who is Caddy the lawyer for?

Ehrlichman: Caddy is a 37-year old lawyer who was very active in the YAFs, the very conservative Young Americans [for Freedom].

President Nixon: Who does he represent?

Ehrlichman: He represented the five guys who got caught the night they were caught, and he was at the police station within minutes after the police brought the prisoners there. He’d obviously been called by someone from the outside. Well, I think what had happened is that Hunt was in the neighborhood and when he saw those guys get caught or heard it over the bug, he called Caddy and Caddy went down and tried to arrange bail and advised them not to talk and so forth. So he’s been asked by the grand jury, who called you? And he’s refused to answer.

President Nixon: That would bring Hunt into it…

Ehrlichman: It would bring Hunt in, it would bring Liddy in. And this guy [Caddy] has an indirect connection with [Charles “Chuck”] Colson because he is the attorney for Colson’s secretary, who is in the process of getting a divorce. But that’s as close as it comes to the White House.

President Nixon: Well, I don’t think that a problem.

Ehrlichman: No, that’s not a problem. That’s sort of a tangential thing. But he will not, Caddy will not disclose much beyond what was already going to be disclosed. So it isn’t going to add too much to the trouble…..

President Nixon: Do you mean that the Circuit Court ordered an attorney to testify?

Ehrlichman: It [unintelligible] me, except that this damn circuit that we’ve got here, with [Judge David] Bazelon and so on, it surprises me every time they do something.

President Nixon: Why didn’t he appeal to the Supreme Court?

Ehrlichman: Well, he could, I suppose. They don’t have to grant certiorari. I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that.

President Nixon: But he’s now testifying?

Ehrlichman: My understanding is that he was going to go in this morning. Now, he may go down there and refuse and take it to the Supreme Court. I don’t know. I just don’t have those facts.

How Dean Misled Nixon

As disclosed in the tapes, President Nixon did not think there was a “problem” for the White House in my testifying because my being the attorney for Colson’s secretary in her divorce action was as “close as it comes to the White House.” But actually there were two very big problems for the White House.

First, Dean had withheld informing Nixon that I had been working as a volunteer lawyer under Dean’s direction from April 25, when George Webster and I met with him in his White House office, until the Watergate case broke on June 17. It doesn’t get much closer to the White House than that.

Second, beginning about two weeks after the case broke, I started to receive mysterious phone calls from someone I never met who called himself Mr. Rivers. The purpose of the calls, if I was to believe the caller, was to arrange for me to pass “hush” money to the five arrested burglars and to Hunt and Liddy. When I comprehended what Mr. Rivers was apparently talking about, I consulted with Jerome Powell, the managing partner of the law firm where I worked and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney. Powell said that while the precise intentions of Mr. Rivers remained unclear as well as who he was and whom he actually represented, if I accepted any money for any purpose from him, subsequently I could be blackmailed to do anything Mr. Rivers and those associated with him wanted done. I would no longer be a free man. When Mr. Rivers called back on July 6, a partner of the law firm was in my office. I told Mr. Rivers I wasn’t at all certain what his intentions were and what he wanted me to do, but I wanted no further contact with him. As I hung up I heard Mr. Rivers give a big exasperated “aaugh.”

Later, I learned that Mr. Rivers was actually Anthony Ulasewicz, a former New York City detective, who before Watergate had carried out numerous assignments for the White House primarily but not exclusively from Dean. Ulasewicz disclosed that one assignment in April 1972, two months before the June 17 break-in, was to visit and case the layout of the Democratic National Committee headquarters using the guise of a casual visitor.

Here is the testimony of Herbert Kalmbach, President Nixon’s personal attorney, before the Senate Watergate Committee as he was being questioned by Samuel Dash, the Committee’s Chief Counsel on July 16, 1973:

Mr. Dash: Now, what was the first instruction you received to give the money?

Mr. Kalmbach: Again, as I have tried to reconstruct this, Mr. Dash, the first instruction that I received, which I passed to Mr. Ulasewicz, was to have Mr. Ulasewicz give $25,000 to Mr. Caddy. I don’t know much of Mr. Caddy. I understand he is an attorney here in Washington. And as I recall it, this was probably from approximately July 1 through July 6 or 7. There were a number of calls. I would either talk to Mr. Dean or Mr. [Fred] LaRue [a presidential aide.] I would then call Mr. Ulasewicz who, in turn, would call Mr. Caddy. He would have some response from Mr. Caddy, and I would call back up to Mr. Dean or Mr. LaRue.

Mr. Dash: What was the response from Mr. Caddy?

Mr. Kalmbach: Well, the sum and gist of it was that Mr. Caddy refused to accept the funds.

Mr. Dash: In that manner?

Mr. Kalmbach: That is correct. That was the end-all. There were several telephone calls, but the final wrap-up on it was that he refused to receive the funds.

Back before the grand jury

On July 19, the day after the U.S. Court of Appeals had affirmed Sirica’s contempt citation, I met with the prosecutors before going before the grand jury. Our meeting had barely got underway when the office door burst open and William Bittman, Hunt’s new attorney who had succeeded me, strode in and thrust a one-page letter from Hunt into my hand. The letter read:

July 19, 1972

Dear Doug:

I have just had an opportunity to review the Court of Appeals’ opinion, in docket 72-1658, which affirms the District Court’s Order directing you to testify. It appears the Court of Appeals’ opinion is predicated on the assumption that the existence of a bona fide attorney-client relationship between you and myself has not been established before the grand jury.

As you know, you have represented me in various matters over a considerable period of time. In addition, during the months of June and July, 1972, I consulted you, in your capacity as an attorney, seeking legal advice concerning matters which are now apparently under investigation by the Federal Grand Jury sitting in the District of Columbia. At no time during the confidential discussions that we had were we involved in any way in matters that could possibly be construed as on-going criminal activity. As I am sure you are aware, I sought your advice only in your capacity as an attorney, and we therefore discussed many things that were confidential and which I would not have discussed with you but for the attorney-client privilege.

This letter is to advise you of my understanding of the relationship which we had, of my understanding that the discussions which you had with me during June and early July 1972 were in your capacity as my attorney, and in connection with matters which are apparently now under investigation by the Federal Grand Jury, and my desire and instruction that you not, in any way, waive the attorney-client privilege.

Very truly yours,

/s/ Howard

E. Howard Hunt, Jr.

I granted permission to the prosecutors to make a copy of Hunt’s letter.

Before going into the grand jury room, I had decided to disclose my volunteer work for John Dean, which, for a reason that one could only surmise, was not among the 38 questions publicly listed by the prosecutors and had never come up in my prior appearances. Neither had the “mysterious” phone calls I had received from Mr. Rivers. I answered all the questions posed to me by the prosecutors from their list of 38 queries. The opportunity then arose in my testimony to begin telling about the “mysterious” phone calls. I was beginning to describe the calls about the “hush” money when one of the three prosecutors, Seymour Glanzer, peremptorily cut me off and switched to another line of questioning.

I was stunned. Here I had been falsely accused by the prosecutors of engaging in conduct was “specious, dilatory and… an obstruction of justice”, falsely accused by Sirica of being “one of the principals in this case even though he might not have been present at the time of the alleged entry in this place,” and my professional reputation gratuitously insulted by the U.S. Court of Appeals declaring that “Even if a relationship does exist, certain communications, such as a consultation in furtherance of a crime, are not within the [attorney-client] privilege.” Now when I attempted to testify about being approached with the “hush” money my grand jury testimony was cut off by the prosecution. The question arises: who was behind this scheme to prevent me from so testifying?

The answer is found in the Oval Office tapes. On July 19, 1972, there was this exchange regarding Henry Petersen, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, and Richard Kleindienst, the U.S. Attorney General:

President Nixon: What is the situation, what is the situation on Petersen, Kleindienst and the rest?

Ehrlichman: Petersen, pretty good. Kleindienst is one step removed from it. Petersen’s always been very good with Dean in trying to help to evaluate the thing as it goes along and in keeping Dean informed of the direction that things are going.

President Nixon: What the U.S. Attorney is up to, and so forth?

Ehrlichman: Yes. And he’s managed to keep ahold of the U.S. Attorney better. It is a better situation than it was.

Then there is the Oval Office tape of the next day, July 20, 1972, of a discussion between President Nixon and H.R. Haldeman:

Haldeman: Another thing I didn’t know that [John] Mitchell told me is that John Dean…went into [Henry] Petersen and laid out the whole scenario to him of what actually happened, who was involved and where it all fit. Now, on the basis of that, Petersen is working with that knowledge, directing the investigation along the channels that will not produce the kind of answers we don’t want produced. Petersen also feels that the fact that there were some lines in this case that ran to the White House is very beneficial because it has slowed them down in pursuing things, because all of them are of the view that they don’t want to indict the White House, they only want to indict the –they want to tighten up that case on the criminal act and limit it to that to the degree that they can….

There can be no doubt that the “we” here is John Dean, who had his own personal agenda that conflicted with serving President Nixon. Dean, having kept vital information from President Nixon, was behind the scenes orchestrating the investigation through Petersen, including circumventing my attempt to tell the grand jury about Dean’s involvement in with me, so as to assure that my testimony on July 19 “would not produce the kind of answers we don’t want produced.”

After I refused to accept the “hush” money on July 6, the prosecutors increased their abusive handling of me. In retrospect I believe that Dean, who was micro-managing the cover-up, ordered through Henry Petersen that this be done without the latter knowing why and that Petersen obligingly passed the word to the prosecutors who were also ignorant of the reason behind it. I was to be punished because I had refused to participate in Dean’s “hush” money criminality.

FBI Internal Report on Watergate

Evidence to support this is found in an FBI memorandum of July 5, 1974, from O.T. Jacobson to the FBI Director whose subject was “Watergate Investigation - OPE Analysis,” OPE being Office of Planning and Evaluation. The following is from the memorandum:

Pursuant to the Director’s instructions of 5/14/74 for the Office of Planning and Evaluation (OPE) to conduct a complete analysis of the FBI’s conduct of the Watergate and related investigations the enclosed study has been prepared. The General Investigative Division participated in major portions of the study….

IV. Areas of criticism and comments

1. Allowing John Dean to sit in on interviews of White House personnel; submitting copies and/or reports of the FBI investigative results to Dean, and clearing proposed investigative activity through Dean.

Comments: On June 19, 1972, WFO [Washington Field Office] by teletype requested authority to interview Charles W. Colson since information had been developed that Hunt had worked for Colson in the White House. On June 22, 1972, Mr. Gray [Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray] telephonically authorized then Assistant Director Bates to have WFO contact John Dean to set up an interview with Colson. Dean subsequently indicated that he would sit in on interviews of White House personnel and all requests for investigation at the White House had to be cleared through him.

Criticism of FBI interviews in the presence of Dean and clearing proposed investigative activities through him is justified. However, there appeared to be no alternative to WFO and to the Accounting and Fraud Section to following this procedure since the decision concerning this had been made between Mr. Gray and Dean, and neither Bureau supervisors nor field agents were in a position to overrule decisions of the Acting Director.

With respect to the submitting of copies of FBI reports to Dean, this is probably the most serious blunder from an investigative standpoint made by Mr. Gray. The facts concerning this development became known outside Mr. Gray’s staff for the first time on February 5, 1973. This is long after the substantive investigation into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters (DNCH) break-in was completed and, in fact, was after the trial of those originally implicated was completed. While Dean’s role as the master manipulator of the cover up was unknown, and, in fact, the cover up itself was unknown during the investigation, obviously the furnishing to Dean by Mr. Gray of our reports allowed Dean the total opportunity to plan a course of action to thwart the FBI’s investigation and grand jury inquiry. There was no way that FBI personnel could have avoided this situation since it was unknown that Mr. Gray was furnishing the reports to Dean.

The principal lesson to be learned from this is that rarely should we conduct interviews in the presence of an attorney and never should we allow the same attorney to sit in on all interviews relative to a certain situation. Further, FBI reports should be disseminated only to the prosecutor and certainly never to the White House.

Dean’s new book

How does Dean handle my role in the Watergate case as it relates to him in his new book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It. The book is misleadingly subtitled because Dean himself kept Nixon from knowing the two big “problems” that I presented to the White House. A more appropriate title for his book would be, The Nixon Defense: What He Did Not know and Why He Did Not Know It. Dean in his book writes on page 106, first quoting Nixon:

“…I hate to see it, but let me say, we’ll take care of [Jeb] Magruder [Deputy Director of Nixon’s reelection committee who had prior knowledge of the break-in plan] immediately afterwards.” The president reassured Ehrlichman that ‘n his case it would be easy as pie, it’d be a case of [unclear], you could treat him like those Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and I mean, you could just give amnesty to all of ‘em.”

“That’d do it. We’ll have to lay that foundation, but as I say, I think Bob [Haldeman, Nixon’s Chief of Staff] and Dean will have a better feel for this a little later, after they talk to [John] Mitchell, see where we are,” Ehrlichman said, and changed the subject to a morning lead story in The Washington Post about the lawyer who showed up to bail out the Watergate burglars without being called, Douglas Caddy. Caddy had refused to answer questions, because he claimed the information was privileged communications, but Judge Sirica cited him for contempt; Caddy’s appeal had been denied by the local court of appeals. Ehrlichman explained how this could draw in not only Hunt and Liddy but Colson as well, because Caddy was handling the divorce of Colson’s secretary. Both concluded that that was too remote to be a problem and returned to the Magruder situation.

That’s Dean’s version in its entirety. Nowhere in his new book does Dean acknowledge our meeting in his White House office on April 25, 1972, where as a volunteer lawyer I received my first campaign research assignment. Nor does he mention his effort to get me to distribute “hush” money to the defendants starting less than two weeks after Watergate broke.

More important, Dean does not acknowledge in his new book that he withheld this vital information from President Nixon. If Nixon had known this he could have factored it into analyzing the legal landscape of the case in the first crucial month.

What if Nixon had been informed of the two “problems”?

It is a fair question to ask. What if Nixon had known of the two big “problems” that would have led right to the White House before I testified before the grand jury on July 19, problems kept from him by Dean? Nixon, being a lawyer and politician, might have analyzed the situation as follows:

Caddy will disclose to the grand jury that for two months before Watergate broke he was working as a volunteer lawyer doing ordinary campaign legal work under the direction of Dean. This leads directly to the White House but does not present an insurmountable problem. Caddy will also disclose that he was approached to pass “hush” money to the burglars and Hunt and Liddy but from whom he does not actually know. So that remains murky. The blunt truth of the matter is that the five burglars were caught red handed. There is no possibility that they will be found innocent at trial. Ditto for Hunt and Liddy because Caddy’s testimony coerced by Sirica and the U.S. Court of Appeals will clearly implicate them in the crime. So let Caddy, who is Hunt’s attorney and friend, disclose to the grand jury the failed attempt to pass “hush” money to him as the burglars’ lawyer. This gets Hunt off our back if he presses for future cash payments or tries to blackmail us. He can only blame his own attorney for the disclosure. The coverup, even if there is one, is in its incipient stages. Let’s end whatever it is right now and just characterize those involved in the break-in as a bunch of reckless campaign rogues who engaged in a third-rate burglary. Let Caddy testify to the grand jury as to what he knows and let the burglars and Hunt and Liddy stand trial and be convicted. Then what? The question arises, why didn’t Caddy appeal Sirica’s contempt order and that of the Appeals Court to the Supreme Court? I think the answer Caddy would give is that he and his attorneys built a strong enough court record that if Hunt, Liddy and the five arrested individuals were found guilty, their convictions could be overturned on appeal because of Sirica’s and the Appeals Court’s abuse of him as their attorney. Clearly the record shows he was mistreated and as a result the defendants will not receive a fair trial. Of course, if the convictions are not overturned on appeal, I can always pardon or grant clemency to the seven after the trial, which will take place when the November election is behind us, although I can only do so in a manner that does not constitute obstruction of justice. The Democrats will make a big deal of all of this but we control the Justice Department and its investigation. They will be relegated to filing a civil lawsuit that will take years to litigate and to holding committee hearings in the Senate and House. We’ll take some heavy blows but we shall survive.

If Nixon had taken this approach the Watergate case would likely have been essentially wrapped up within the first two months of the case. There would have been no lengthy cover-up. Hunt would have been precluded from making any further demands by for hush money. Hunt’s wife might not have died in a mysterious plane crash. McCord would not have written his explosive letter to Sirica exposing the cover up. There would have been no Senate Watergate hearings. The Oval Office tapes would never have been made public. Nixon would have served out his second term, somewhat bruised, but still wielding power.

But Nixon never had the opportunity to explore this legal avenue early in the case. Why? Because John Dean was micro-managing the criminal investigation through Henry Petersen at the Justice Department and L. Patrick Gray at the FBI, while doing so keeping vital information from President Nixon.

Why was Dean doing this? For two principal reasons: (1) Dean had comprehensive prior knowledge of the Nixon White House plans to target and subvert the Democrats in the 1972 presidential campaign, of which the Watergate break-in was an outgrowth, and (2) Dean’s girlfriend, Maureen Biner, had a unique relationship with Erika L.“Heidi” Rikan, the madam who ran prostitution ring allegedly operating out of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, a ring that was managed behind the scenes by Rikan’s boy friend, Joseph Nesline, a Mafia figure. Dean married Maureen in October 1972, four months after Watergate broke, and it has been widely alleged that this was done so that neither could be forced to testify against the other under the marital privilege. Heidi Rikan was a bride’s maid at their wedding.

Those who desire additional information about this crucially important aspect bearing on the cover-up, which was never investigated because of Dean’s masterful manipulation of the scandal, should consult three books that discuss it in detail: Silent Coup by Len Colodny and Richard Gettlin (St. Martin’s Press, 1991), Nixon’s Secrets by Roger Stone (Skyhorse, 2014) and White House Call Girl: The Real Watergate Story by Phil Stanford (Feral House/Process Media, 2013). The last contains the list from “Heidi” Rikan’s little black book of the clients of her prostitution ring that included well known persons from the Nixon White House and the Committee for the Re-Election of the President in addition to prominent Democrats.

TrineDay publishers will soon release another book, Confessions of a D.C. Madam: The Politics of Sex, Lies and Blackmail, by Henry W. Vinson, that deals with the male prostitution ring operating in Washington before and during the days of Watergate.

Len Colodny donated his treasure trove of voluminous Watergate files and depositions to Texas A&M University and these are available to the public. Anyone wishing to examine these should contact Professor Luke Nichter at the university. A list of the files and depositions can be found here: http://watergate.brightpixelstudio.com/Content/Colodny%20Collection%20tape%20Interview%20list.pdf

The First Watergate Trial

In early December1972 at William Bittman’s request one of my attorneys and I met with him. Bittman was the lawyer who succeeded me in representing Hunt. The meeting was to discuss the trial of Hunt, Liddy and the five burglars scheduled for January. Bittman had previously been a high level Justice Department lawyer; among those cases he had prosecuted was that of Jimmy Hoffa.

After we were seated, Bittman said, “Your testimony is going to be crucial at the trial. It will be gone over with a fine tooth comb. The government is worried now that it may have fatally tainted its case against the defendants by calling you before the grand jury.” He continued that shortly before the trial to refresh my recollection the prosecutors would call me to their office to have me read my five grand jury transcripts.

“Doug,” Bittman then said, “when you read your grand jury transcripts, check carefully to see if anything has been altered.”

My attorney and stared at him in amazement, both of us speechless.

“Yes,” Bittman added, “ check your transcripts to see if the questions and answers have been tampered with.”

In a low voice I managed to ask, “And if they have been?”

“Then,” Bittman replied, “I plan to call Silbert to the witness stand to question him about them. Hunt deserves a fair trial and I am going to see that he gets one.” Bittman was worried that the transcripts had been altered to weaken the attorney-client privilege so as to benefit the government’s case.

A few weeks later Silbert asked me to come to the U.S. Attorney’s office to read the transcripts of my five appearances before the grand jury. In reading the final one I found to my astonishment that at least one key question and answer had been altered and did not reflect what I has testified. It boggled my mind that after all Sirica and the Court of Appeals had done to me forcing me to testify under threat of contempt of court, that my final grand jury transcript had been altered. Soon thereafter my attorney and I again met with Bittman and informed him. (Later it was disclosed that a court transcript of an interview of Alfred Baldwin, a key Watergate witness, had also been changed. There may have been other witnesses whose testimony was altered but who never knew this was done.)

Later in December, 1972, Howard Hunt’s wife, Dorothy, was killed in a mysterious plane crash in Chicago. This left Hunt psychologically almost a basket case. As a result he pleaded guilty at the start of the trial the next month and the four Cuban-American defendants followed his lead and did so also. Hunt later came to believe that he had been pressured wrongfully to plead guilty by Bittman because the latter was worried that at trial it might be disclosed that he accepted the initial $25,000 “hush” money from Ulaswewicz after I had turned it down.

This left James McCord and Gordon Liddy as the defendants who stood trial. I was called as a witness by both the prosecution and the defense. I was an involuntary witness for the prosecution as Silbert reminded Sirica of my prior assertion of the attorney-client privilege for which he had held me in contempt.

At the beginning of the trial I had a conversation with prosecutor Silbert in which I told him that I expected to be asked about the work as a volunteer lawyer that I had done for John Dean and for his assistant, David Wilson, in the two months before Watergate. Silbert’s short response was that he had never heard of David Wilson. When I testified, Silbert failed to ask me about Dean or Wilson.

At the trial Liddy’s attorney adamantly contended that Liddy’s Sixth Amendment constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel was being violated by my being forced to testify. He argued:

…If Mr. Liddy or any citizen of the United States or any person under the jurisdiction of the United States has a Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel…it ought not to matter one whit whether he exercises that right at three in the morning or three in the afternoon and what Mr. Silbert is suggesting is that there should be some limitation as to the hours when one can consult with an attorney and have no adverse inference drawn there from. I submit that it would have a chilling effect on the right to effectiveness of counsel

Sirica openly sneered at this argument, declaring:

How do I know Mr. Caddy in the context of the facts of this case is truly Mr. Liddy’s attorney? The simple fact that he says he is my attorney does not make him his attorney, does it? Then, if he wants to take the stand and go into detail when he consult him and how Mr. Caddy became his lawyer, what fee he paid him, and anything like that, I will listen to him, and then make a ruling. He hasn’t made any showing. Does your client want to take the stand? He will be cross-examined as to the relationship between Mr. Liddy and Mr. Caddy.

Liddy’s attorney responded, “Is your honor requiring that the only method in which I can establish the attorney-client relationship is to put my client on the stand?”

Judge Sirics retorted, “I am not saying anything but you have offered no evidence and your argument is not evidence to me. It is simply a statement by you.”

At this point the prosecution began to worry that Liddy’s attorney was building a good case for appeal. So Silbert called upon his second in command, Glanzer, to pollute the record with a tantalizing smear. Glanzer told the judge:

There are many cases even though there is a relationship of attorney-client, the court can lift the confidentiality where it is in furtherance of a criminal venture although we are not saying it here. I am just citing an example where lawyers are called to testify or testimony is admitted with respect to lawyers of defendants at trial. There are no Sixth Amendment claims raised in those cases. It is preposterous.”

Sirica, his innate viciousness barely concealed, jumped at Glanzer’s smear: “I think you are right.”

The jury took little time in finding McCord and Liddy guilty.

Robert Jackson in the Los Angeles Times of January 29, 1973, caught the flavor of the trial:

A clubby atmosphere has prevailed in federal court during the three weeks it has taken the government to present their case in the Watergate bugging trial.

The questioning of Republican officials and others has been more polite than penetrating. Entire areas have been left unprobed.

In the corridor discussions, prosecutor Earl Silbert has been asked repeatedly by newsmen why he has not posed additional questions to the witnesses or called higher Republican officials to the stand.

Silbert’s contention is that the government is submitting only evidence that is necessary to prove charges in its indictment of the original seven defendants last September.

There is no evidence of a wider conspiracy, he has told reporters. Additional testimony could be immaterial and irrelevant, he has said.

Not only have the prosecution’s questions been limited but the defense attorneys at times have waived their opportunity to cross-examine.

In March 1973 McCord, fearing Sirica would impose a long sentence on him, wrote his famous letter to Sirica alleging that there had been a cover-up and hush money paid. Soon thereafter I was called by the prosecutors to appear again before the grand jury. This was my sixth and final appearance before the grand jury. Before going into the grand jury room, I reminded the prosecutors how my attempt to tell the grand jury on July 19, 1972, in the early weeks of the case about the “mysterious” phone calls I had received from Mr. Rivers had abruptly ended when Glanzer had cut my testimony off.

Months later, after the Special Prosecutor had been appointed to investigate the case, I requested an appointment to inform that office of the details of my July 19, 1972, grand jury transcript being altered. I started the meeting by remarking about how it was obvious that Silbert, Campbell and Glanzer had purposely limited the case to the original defendants so as to make certain it would not reach the higher-ups. The Special Prosecutor’s representative smiled broadly at this and nodded his head vigorously in agreement. However, as I got deeper into the details of my grand jury transcript, his face took on a serious and then alarmed look. When I finished he looked somewhat shocked and said that he would relate what I had said immediately to the Special Prosecutor himself. However, I was never contacted afterward by the Special Prosecutor.

Watergate defendant James McCord later testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in its 1975 hearing on confirmation of Silbert to be U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia that he had been told there was a complete circuit of grand jury minutes from the grand jury to Silbert to an attorney for the Committee for the Re-election of the President and to the White House.

Senator John V. Tunney in the same confirmation hearing made public a White House tape conversation of April 26, 1973, that contained the following exchange:

Nixon: I considered the special prosecutor. I considered the Presidential Commission. I considered, you know, three judges etcetera and so on. And, uh, I decided that I was satisfied myself so in and in so doing the job, and uh, of course on the uh.

Haldeman: That’s it – you prob – well you see, they’re going to undermine that through saying Silbert was covering up earlier, earlier.

Nixon: (unintelligible) He may have been.

Haldeman: He was limiting the investigation.

How everything turned out for me

After all was said and done with the Watergate case, notwithstanding the vicious attacks and false accusations against me by the prosecutors and Judge Sirica, I was never indicted, named an unindicted co-conspirator, disciplined by the District of Columbia Bar, named as a defendant by the Democrats in their civil lawsuit after Edward Bennett Williams had taken my deposition, or even contacted or called as a witness by the Senate Watergate Committee.

Sirica wrote a book To Set the Record Straight for which he was paid $1 million (about $4 million in today’s dollars), which he pocketed instead of donating it to charity. Professor Stanley Kutler of the University of Wisconsin has acknowledged that he had been first approached to ghost-write the book. Nowhere in his book did Sirica discuss what he had done to me or how he shaped the trial to achieve the outcome he wanted while being paid with taxpayer dollars so that he could profit from it, which says a lot about his lack of character.

Neither Sirica nor the U.S. Court of Appeals ever acknowledged their injustice meted out to me and through me to the seven defendants that caused Hunt to realize early on he would never receive a fair trial and led him instead to choose the cover up route.

Hunt later wrote in his book, Undercover: Memoirs of an American Secret Agent:

On the 19th of June, 1972, Gordon Liddy told me that his superiors – the White House – had decided I should leave the country and join my vacationing wife and children in Europe until things settled down.

I was reluctant to follow such unexpected instructions, feeling I might be regarded as a fugitive even though no warrant had been issued for me (nor ever was). However I went home and began to pack, and soon afterward Liddy phoned me to rescind his previous orders. But shaken by the appearance of confusion and indecision among our sponsors, harassed by the press and lacking even basic legal guidance, I decided to fly to California and quietly await developments.

From there I placed frequent calls to Washington in order to obtain legal counsel. Douglas Caddy, my first –until then only—lawyer, was reluctant to speak with me, as was my employer, Robert Bennett. Through press accounts I learned that Caddy had been summoned before a grand jury and then hauled off before Judge John J. Sirica who ruled no attorney-client privilege existed between Caddy and myself. He ordered Caddy to answer the grand jury questions and subsequently thrust my attorney in jail.

Sirica’s savage handling of Caddy made me realize how desperately I needed expert criminal counsel. Moreover, the cognomen ‘Maximum John’ had begun appearing in the press, and the combined implications were clear: if Sirica was treating Caddy – an Officer of the Court – so summarily, and Caddy was completely uninvolved in Watergate, then those of us who were involved could expert neither fairness nor understanding from him. As events unfolded, this conclusion became tragically accurate.

Among the many legal scholars who were later to criticize Judge Sirca’s conduct of the Watergate proceedings, Dean John Roche of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy has this to say: “...there is one sinister relic of that era: Watergate ‘justice.’ One appalling aspect of Watergate was the extent to which liberals and civil libertarians deserted traditional principles of due process. The slogan was: ‘No due process for the bad guys: get the bastards.’ What Sirica did was clearly cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the Bill of Rights. He used the sentencing process as a medieval rack.”

And Douglas Caddy was his first victim.

On September 25, 2014, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein spoke at the Brilliant Lecture Series in Houston. At a reception before the event, I renewed my acquaintance with the two famed reporters whom I not seen in the 42 years since Watergate. We reminisced about the early days of the scandal and Bernstein disclosed that Judge Sirica had personally encouraged them to pursue the case. This was typical of Sirica’s abuse of the judicial process so as to deny the seven defendants a fair trial. One wonders what other persons he interacted with in the case in violation of judicial ethics in his maniacal and insatiable quest for fame and money.

In November 1974, while the second Watergate trial was underway that dealt with the coverup, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued its decision on Liddy’s appeal of his conviction. Liddy had listed as one of his five grounds for reversal that Sirica’s “instructions improperly allowed the jury to consider the time and circumstances under which the appellant retained an attorney as bearing on his state of mind.” In its decision, the Appeals Court declared, “We agree with the Third Circuit’s analysis that admission of a request for counsel raises Sixth Amendment problems….In the present case, even it is assumed that there was error in the admission of evidence, the prosecutor’s summation, or the instruction, or all of these, the error would be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence against appellant…was so overwhelming that even if there were constitutional error in the comment of the prosecutor and the instruction of the trial judge there is no reasonable possibility it contributed to the conviction.”

The Court of Appeals in its Liddy decision made no reference to its upholding Judge Sirica’s contempt citation against me two years earlier after he had falsely accused me of being a “principal” in the crime. Both Judge Sirica and the Court of Appeals were complicit in denying Hunt, Liddy, McCord and the four Cuban-Americans a fair trial and in causing the cover-up in so doing.

Countless books have been written about Watergate. But none, including three of the most authoritative, Secret Agenda by Jim Hougan (Random House, 1984), Silent Coup (St. Martin’s Press, 1991) by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin and Watergate:The Hidden History by Lamar Waldron (Counterpoint, 2012), discuss how the original seven defendants were denied a fair trial.

Ironically, among the most telling criticism was that from Bob Woodward, who in a post-Watergate speech to the Young Lawyers Section of the District of Columbia Bar declared that a “Sirica Myth” had developed the whole Watergate matter despite the fact that “the job of a trial judge is not to conduct a grand jury session and to some extent he did.” Woodward left the impression that he believed Time magazine misspoke when it named Judge Sirica “Man of the Year” and that “revisionist historians will re-evaluate and downplay Sirica’s role.”

These comments by Woodward are welcomed. That said, this is how Newsweek reviewed the acclaimed film “All The President’s Men” in which Bob Woodward was played by Robert Redford and Carl Bernstein by Dustin Hoffman:

That tenacity takes on a new rhythm in the performances of Redford and Hoffman, a rhythm that doesn’t romanticize the reality but choreographs it into a compelling dramatic shape. This happened immediately as Redford is assigned to the routine story of the break-in at the Democratic National headquarters. Sitting behind a mysterious defense lawyer at the arraignment, Redford strains forward, trying to see right through the guy’s shoulder blades. His alert body, his glancing eyes, his tense, open mouth, express inquisitiveness so acute that the audience laughs in delighted complicity. This is more than a hungry young reporter smelling a story – it’s a Good guy spotting a Bad Guy.

I am especially proud of the backhanded accolade accorded me by the Washington Post in its August 4, 1972, editorial: “The lawyer for the five suspects fought fiercely to avoid being questioned by the grand jury.” This memoir explains why this “Bad Guy” so fought in behalf of his clients.

Woodward was not alone in voicing criticism of Judge Sirica. Conservative columnist James J. Kirkpatrick wrote:

It would be pleasant if someone really would set the record straight about this tin pot tyrant. Sirica is a vainglorious pooh bah, as ill-tempered and autocratic as any judge since Samuel Chase of Maryland 180 years ago. When the Watergate criminal trials were assigned to him in the fall of 1972, he set out to enjoin the whole countryside with an encompassing gag order that perfectly reflected his lust for power. The order was patently absurd – it embraced even ‘potential witnesses’ and ‘alleged victim’ – and had to be watered down.

During the trial the following January, Sirica was seldom content to let the prosecutor Earl J. Silbert do his job. He repeatedly took over the questioning, hectored witnesses, postured to the press. Sirica’s grandstand performance provoked attorney Gerald Alch to the kind of biting criticism seldom heard from a practicing lawyer about a sitting judge; he charged that Sirica “permeated the whole courtroom with prejudice.”

Joseph H. Rauh, Jr., a Washington attorney and former national chairman of the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, concurred:

It seems ironic that those most opposed to Mr. Nixon’s lifetime espousal of ends justifying the means should now make a hero of a judge who practiced this formula to the detriment of a fair trial for the Watergate Seven. Indeed, Sirica was quite frank about all of this with statements during the trial such as ‘I could care less about what happens to this case on appeal…’ and ‘I could care less what the Court of Appeals does, if this case ever gets up there.’

In response to a letter that I had written the FBI, I received a reply from that agency dated April 18, 1978, that stated, “A thorough search of our central indices revealed that you never have been the subject of an investigation by this Bureau.” I wonder how the venomous and venal Judge Sirica would have reacted upon learning this.

The issue of my being gay

Behind facade of the prosecutors and the judiciary in Watergate concerning me was: “Let’s teach this faggot a lesson he will not soon forget.” America was still a deeply homophobic nation.

The point man in orchestrating this was Washington, D.C. police detective Carl Shoffler. Shoffler was the officer who arrested the burglars. He had asked to work overtime instead of going off duty to attend a family birthday party and was very conveniently parked in a police vehicle one block from Watergate when the call came into the police headquarters about a possible burglary in progress. In his book, Secret Agenda (Random House, 1984), Jim Hougan wrote:

Adding to the suspicions surrounding Shoffler is the fact that he is no ordinary cop. Prior to joining the police department in Washington, he had served for years at the Vint Hill Farm Station in Virginia. This is one of NSA’s most important domestic “listening posts.” Staffed by personnel assigned to the Army Security Agency (ASA), Vint Hill Farm is thought to be responsible for intercepting communications traffic emanating from Washington’s Embassy Row. By itself, this proves nothing, but it is ironic that the police officer responsible for making the most important IOC (Interception of Communications) bust in American history should himself have worked in the same area only a few years before.

Shoffler’s work at Vint Hill was mentioned in passing in the staff interviews for the Ervin committee. This occurred as the result of an allegation against Shoffler by his former commanding officer at Vint Hill, Captain Edmund Chung. According to Captain Chung, he had occasion to dine with Shoffler in the aftermath of the Watergate arrests. Chung claimed that Shoffler told him the arrests were a tip-off, that [Alfred] Baldwin and Shoffler had been in contact with each other prior to the last break-in, and that if Shoffler ever made the whole story public, “his life wouldn’t be worth a nickel.”

Shoffler, who was a military intelligence agent assigned to the Washington police, in 1969 recruited an informant, Robert Merritt. Merritt’s assignment was to infiltrate the Left and sabotage its activities using illegal and unscrupulous schemes devised by the FBI, Military Intelligence and the Washington police. In the book Watergate Exposed: How the President of the United States and the Watergate Burglars Were Set Up as told to Douglas Caddy (TrineDay, 2011), Merritt provides a lengthy and detailed account of what he did as informant for the government, which was Cointelpro on steroids.

Merritt claims he and Shoffler, who was married and had children, had a gay relationship for two years that lasted until the Watergate scandal broke. He also maintains that through a gay friend who worked as a telephone operator the Columbia Plaza Apartments where “Heidi” Rikan’s prostitution ring was located near the Watergate he learned of the plan for the June 17 break-in at Watergate two weeks before it happened. His gay friend had overheard it being discussed while surreptitiously listening in on a telephone conversation from an outside caller who asked to be connected to a supposedly non-working number on the switchboard. Merritt claims that he immediately told Shoffler about the planned break-in, which is why Shoffler was purposely parked a block away from Watergate when the burglary telephone call to police headquarters was made by a guard there.

Shoffler, whom I came to believe was a classic self-hating homosexual and blackmailer, expressed his outrage at the original attorney for the Watergate Seven turning up as a closeted gay. He determined different ways to destroy my reputation and career and even planned to have me killed in the first few weeks of the case using a poison suppository in a staged sexual encounter, according to a sworn affidavit signed by Merritt. Shoffler dropped his plan after the prosecutors subpoenaed me on June 28 to appear before the grand jury, telling Merritt that my murder was no longer needed since the prosecutors would effectively destroy me through the grand jury process.

Some of Shoffler’s other measures included arranging for Merritt to telephone key Senators on Capitol Hill to spread the word that I was gay and also to expose my sexual orientation to the media. A popular alternative newspaper in Washington, The Daily Rag, in its October 5-12, 1973, issue carried the headline “FBI Informer Confesses” in which Merritt recounted his sundry and many illegal activities that he carried out under the direction of the FBI, Military Intelligence and the Washington Police. In the publication Merritt was asked, “What was your contact with the Watergate affair?” He responded:

In June 1972, a few days after the Watergate break-in and arrests, MPDC [Metropolitan Police] Intelligence [officers] Shoffler and Leaper approached me and tried to get me to do one last job. They said that it was the most important thing I had ever done, that it was for my country….

They wanted me to get close to Douglas Caddy [the lawyer for the burglars caught inside the Watergate], who was alleged to be gay. They wanted me to get to know him socially, sexually, and any other way. They said he had been born in Cuba, that he liked Cubans and was associated with communist causes.

The Advocate, a national gay publication, carried a two-part lengthy interview “Revelations of a Gay Informant” with Merritt in its February and March 1977 issues in which he reiterated and elaborated upon what had told the Washington alternative newspaper four years earlier.

U.S. National Archives documents

When Merritt asked me in 2008 to work with him on a book that became Watergate Exposed, I suggested that he contact the U.S. National Archives for any material it might have on Merritt.

One of the documents released by the Archives was from a box labeled, “Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, Staff Files, James C. Moore, Box B186, Bob Merritt.” It was a memorandum to Terry Lenzner from Jim Moore with its subject being “Interview with Earl Robert Merritt, Jr.” dated July 24, 1973. The document states in part:

On July 13, 1972, Merritt’s one association with the Watergate affair began. Detective Schaffler (sic) and Sergeant Leper (sic) of the DC police visited Merritt and asked him to find out all he could about Douglas Caddy, who was representing some of the Watergate defendants. Caddy lived at 2121 P Street, N.W., across the street from Merritt’s residence at the time. Merritt did not know Caddy. Schaffler and Leper told Merritt that Caddy was homosexual and pro-Cuban. In response to Merritt’s questions, Schaffler and Leper said that this assignment did not come from the police intelligence unit or the FBI or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division or the CIA. They further denied that the assignment was involved with the Justice Department in any way. They would not tell Merritt who authorized their request, but Schaffler laughingly said it could possibly come from sources higher than the Justice Department. They told Merritt that it would be his biggest job and that it was one of the best things he could do for his country. Merritt refused to carry out the assignment. He said he was periodically asked during 1972 to find out about Caddy, these requests coming from Schaffler or Leper. As recently as February 22 or 23, 1973, Schaffler asked him if he knew anything about Caddy or could find out anything about him. According to Merritt … on May 16 or 17, 1973, Leper testified before the Senate Watergate Committee that there was no police involvement in Watergate in any way after the apprehension of the burglars on the night of the break-in. Merritt says that Leper was personally involved in the effort to enlist him, Merritt, in the investigation of Caddy. Consequently, Leper committed perjury before the committee. Isbell [David Isbell, Merritt’s attorney] and Merritt are interested in pursuing possible perjury committed by Leper and in pursuing the more general question of possible DC police involvement in post-break-in investigations and activities.

Frank Martin of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force interviewed Carl Shoffler and afterward wrote a memorandum dated December 20, 1973, which contained the following:

Schoffler (sic) was questioned about the incident involving [redacted]. Schoffler stated that at some time after the Watergate arrests, Schoffler and Leper (sic) were in their car and met Merritt near his residence at 2121 P Street. Schoffler stated that he had first seen [redacted] the day after the arrests when [redacted] came to represent the Cubans. When Schoffler and Leper met Merritt, Merritt stated that he might know [redacted] and Merritt had an article from the newspaper with a picture of [redacted] on it. Schoffler told Merritt to let him know if Merritt found out who [redacted] was and if he was “funny”, i.e., homosexual. Schoffler stated that this was an off-hand comment and he never expected Merritt to do anything, and Merritt never told Schoffler anything about Caddy.

Schoffler stated that in the summer of 1973, after he had testified in the Watergate hearings, Schoffler met Merritt. Merritt stated that he had made all sort of calls to Senators concerning Watergate and the Caddy incident with Schoffler. Schoffler stated that he told Merritt that if he, Merritt, reported a crime that was one thing, but if he reported something that was only in his head it was going to come back on him. Schoffler said that he did not in any way threaten Merritt.

The New York Times of July 2 of this year carried an article by Michael Powell about Merritt, “Takeover of Kenmore Hotel: Informer Recalls His Complicity.” The article quotes a former New York police officer who knew Merritt as saying, “…Mr. Merritt loved to tell tall tales of his supposed connections to intelligence agencies and Watergate.

“But as it happened, those tales were true.

“Federal records confirm that Mr. Merritt worked with the Washington police and the F.B.I. to infiltrate left-wing groups in Washington in the early 1970s; that his police handler apprehended the Watergate burglars; and that he was interviewed by investigators for the Watergate Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox.”

I guess that it is a singular distinction that my sexual orientation as a closeted gay man became an issue in Watergate and that evidence of this can be found in the U.S. National Archives. After all, Watergate, the most important criminal case in the United States in the 20th century, occurred only three years after the Stonewall riots and the gay revolution was still not thought of as being a realistic possibility. What effect the knowledge that I was gay had in the vicious actions of the prosecutors, Judge Sirica and the Court of Appeals in their attempt to set me up will never be known but their abusive actions speak for themselves.

President Nixon’s cosmic downfall because of Watergate was, in my opinion, blowback or what goes around, comes around, or perhaps a morphed form of Karma. This was because the principal purposes of the burglars going into the Democratic headquarters, in addition to getting lists of the clients of both the female and male prostitution rings thought to be there and to plant a new wiretap bug, was also to copy secret Cuban government intelligence reports suspected to be there. The documents linked through a chain of events a decision by Vice President Nixon in 1960 to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy three years later. It was about that “Bay of Pigs” thing. Possible possession of the reports by the Democrats, which included additional intelligence as to persons involved in JFK’s assassination, if released publicly during the 1972 presidential campaign, posed a serious threat to Nixon’s reelection but an even far more serious one to the CIA for its role in the assassination.

But that is a story for another time.

Douglas Caddy is an attorney in Houston, Texas and is a member of the Texas and District of Columbia Bars. Biographical information can be found in Who’sWho in America and Who’sWho in the World. Email address: douglascaddy@justice.com

Date of Memoir: November 16, 2014

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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Mr. Caddy, I thank you for sharing this memoir with the forum. At such time as you might be willing or able to elaborate on the information implied in the final paragraph, I would think that any revelations of that nature might be of the highest value to history.

I would hope that the "another time" referenced in that final paragraph would be soon.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Mr. Caddy,

I would still hope that "a story for another time" you referenced could be told soon.

The world deserves to hear it.

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Mark, Paul and Al and others who may be interested as to the rest of the story:

I am under contract with TrineDay to write my autobiography, which in general terms covers the rise of the modern Conservative Movement, its subsequent hijacking by sociopaths and opportunists, the chain of events that link Vice President Nixon’s decision in 1960 to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy three years later, Watergate and the burglars’ three goals, Billie Sol Estes and LBJ, and the Moody Foundation scandal.

Jon G. Tidd has observed in the forum: “"The continuing cover-up is the most significant fact of the assassination today. It goes to who killed him and why. What reason does the U.S. Government have today to deprive the American people of the truth of his killing?"

I shall attempt to answer this question based on the limited knowledge I have. In my opinion there does exist a valid reason why the U.S. Government has not revealed the reason for JFK’s assassination. It is as valid today as it was in 1963. Further, JFK had to be killed when he was by the Conspirators because Vice President Lyndon Johnson was just days away of facing criminal charges, which would have caused a Constitutional crisis that would have played havoc in the efforts of those who perceive their paramount purpose to be our national security. Presidents come and go but Intelligence Agencies persevere and continue on. Jon G. Tidd has also written that “In my view, the downfall of Western Civilization began on November 22, 1963”, a thesis in which I am in total agreement.

Twenty years ago at its request I donated my professional files to the Archives Library at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Later this year I plan to visit the library to secure copies of documents I need to complete my book, which will provide the rest of the story.

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I'll be looking forward to reading your book when it's available. I know that you've been "where the action is" [or was, anyway], and you were in close contact with many of the key people in the history of the last half of the 20th century.

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Doug, in your knowledge does "Constitutional crisis" mean more than "Kennedy would have gotten a new V-P who wouldn't play ball with Defense/Intelligence interests"? Does it also mean that "LBJ's downfall would have produced a countercoup of revelations that would have threatened the Kennedy presidency"?

Edited by David Andrews
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I want to highlight your choice of the word 'sociopath' when describing the hijacking of the modern conservative movement. How to wrest social, political, and corporate governance from the hands of sociopaths and into the hands of humanists is the age old question. They are attracted to power.

Edited by Paul Brancato
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Does "Constitutional crisis" mean more than "Kennedy would have gotten a new V-P who wouldn't play ball with Defense/Intelligence interests"? Does it also mean that "LBJ's downfall would have produced a countercoup of revelations that would have threatened the Kennedy presidency"?

Your questions are excellent and provocative and can only be answered in hindsight using speculation. My guess is that the answer to both is “yes.”

LBJ would not have gone quietly into the night. The bloodletting would have been brutal.

The Intelligence Community would have fought behind the scenes to make certain that if LBJ were forced out of office, the new Vice President would not be hostile to it.

There would have been chaos.

I recently saw the superb new movie, “The Imitation Game,” which has been nominated for eight academy awards. Without give away a key element of the film, there is assertion in it that MI6 made a paramount decision to keep Churchill out of the loop on a key matter while the work was being done to crack the “Enigma” Code.

Such was also the nature of Intelligence Agencies, including the CIA and Military, that JFK had to wrestle with. They could not control him and could not control what he might disclose publicly because of certain knowledge he had gained. He was taking steps that indicated he was moving towards such disclosure. He had to be terminated.

All presidents since JFK have been vetted by the Intelligence Community, which knows compromising information about them.


Edited by Douglas Caddy
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