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Live Wisely - Part 1 (34 of 40)
On the evening of June 17, 1972, Frank Wills, a security guard at the Watergate Complex, noticed tape covering the latch on locks on several doors in the complex (leaving the doors unlocked). He took off the tape, and thought nothing of it. An hour later, he discovered that someone had retaped the locks. Wills called the police and five men were arrested inside the Democratic National Committee's office.
The five were charged with attempted burglary and attempted interception of telephone and other communications. They were indicted for conspiracy, burglary, and violation of federal wiretapping laws.
After an investigation the breakin was tided to the 1972 Committee to Re-elect Richard Nixon as President. The judge suspected it involved a conspiracy of higher government officials who were part of the Nixon inner circle. One of the men convicted of the breakin claimed that he was under political pressure to plead guilty and he implicated high-ranking government officials, including former Attorney General John Mitchel.
The connection between the break-in and the re-election campaign committee was highlighted by newspapers and television coverage.
A year after the breakin President Nixon was forced to ask for the resignation of two of his most influential aides, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, both of whom were indicted and ultimately went to prison.
As evidence mounted against the president's staff, it was revealed that President Nixon had a tape recording system in his offices and that he had recorded many conversations. Recordings from these tapes implicated the president, revealing that he had attempted to cover up the break-in. After a series of court battles of Presidental privledge, the Supreme Court ruled that the president had to hand over the tapes which he ultimately did.
Facing near-certain impeachment in the House of Representatives ...
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