The Watergate Conspiracy Conviction and Appeal of Assistant Attorney General Robert Mardian
Robert Mardian was the Assistant Attorney General for Internal Security during President Nixon's first term. In this role, he was involved in many controversial matters including the Pentagon Papers case. Mardian was convicted along with former Attorney General John Mitchell, and Nixon White House aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. "Bob" Haldeman of conspiracy to obstruct justice at the Watergate conspiracy trial held before Judge John Sirica. Arnold Rochvarg, the author of this book, was a member of the legal defense team for the appeal of Mardian's conviction. This book is extremely helpful to learn about the Watergate scandal. Watergate led to prison terms for many of Nixon's closest associates and to Nixon's resignation as President. The book explains (1) the planning of the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex by John Mitchell, White House Counsel John Dean, and White House aides Jeb Magruder and Gordon Liddy; (2) the actual break-in involving ex- CIA operative and White House aide Howard Hunt, several of Hunt's former CIA associates from the Bay of Pigs invasion, and Nixon campaign security chief James McCord; (3) the attempts to deny that those arrested at the Watergate had any connection with the Nixon re-election campaign including payments of hush money, offers of clemency, destruction of documents, perjury before the grand jury, and attempts to have the CIA take responsibility to halt the FBI investigation; (4) the convictions of the original burglars without the true facts becoming public until James McCord informed Judge Sirica that "higher-ups" were responsible;(5) the guilty pleas and cooperation with the prosecution by some of the major participants including John Dean and Jeb Magruder; (6) the indictments of seven former Nixon administration officials for crimes including conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury; (7) the conspiracy trial of five defendants before Judge John Sirica after one of the seven defendants pleaded guilty and another was granted a separate trial; (8) the guilty verdicts for four of the five defendants; (9) the appeals of the four defendants convicted at the conspiracy trial; and (10) significant events that occurred after all Watergate legal proceedings had ended. This book pays special attention to the facts presented at trial involving Robert Mardian because of all the convicted defendants, Mardian was the only defendant who presented a strong defense and whose guilt was truly in doubt.The book's detailed analysis of the facts relating to Mardian present a close look at the evidence presented at trial, and raise questions as to the validity of the jury's guilty verdict. The book then discusses the legal issues involved in Mardian's appeal including the use of the White House tapes against Mardian, and Mardian's defense that he was "only acting as a lawyer." The appeals court opinion which reversed Mardian's conviction is presented, as well as his lawyers' efforts to avoid a retrial. This book is unique in several ways. Unlike most other books on Watergate, this book is written from the defense perspective by a former member of Mardian's defense team. Moreover, included are transcripts of closed court hearings. Additionally, before his death, Mardian provided his legal team with personal notes of a conversation he had with Richard Nixon a few years after Watergate in which Nixon gave his opinion not only on Watergate, but other matters including Jimmy Carter, the media, and foreign policy. The book also contains discussions of the "lawyering" of the Watergate case including decisions involving legal strategy, and correspondence with the Watergate Special Prosecutor's office. This book contains a wealth of information which should be of great interest not only to Watergate "buffs," but also those with an interest in American history, legal history, criminal law, the legal profession, and the legacy of Richard Nixon.
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Robert Mardian, Assistant Attorney General, President Richard Nixon, Watergate, Pentagon Papers, Judge John Sirica
Administrative Law | Law | President/Executive Department
Rochvarg, Arnold, "The Watergate Conspiracy Conviction and Appeal of Assistant Attorney General Robert Mardian" (2015). Books. 73.