As a member of President Nixon’s Watergate defense team, Geoff Shepard holds alternative views of events and how they unfolded during the Watergate scandal.
In essence, he argues that once the scandal investigations had become highly politicized, through creation of the Senate Watergate Committee and the Office of the Special Prosecutor, two major injustices followed:
First, that the scandal itself was skillfully exploited by President Nixon’s political opponents who were far more interested in destroying the Republican party in advance of the 1976 presidential election than in punishing actual wrongdoing.
It was the career prosecutors who had broken the cover-up, but they were quickly removed from the case by Archibald Cox, the newly appointed Special Prosecutor. His office then postponed the pending indictments for ten months, while they launched unrelated investigations into every aspect of the Nixon presidency, sent FBI and IRS agents to interview over 120 major Republican contributors, and developed background information on every potential GOP presidential candidate, including President Gerald Ford, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, Vice Presidential nominee Senator Robert Dole, and California Governor Ronald Reagan.
Shepard’s views are set out in his 2008 book, The Secret Plot to Make Ted Kennedy President, Inside the Real Watergate Scandal, and his related presentation at the Nixon Library of June 24. 2008.
- Watch Shepard at the Nixon Library (June 24, 2008)
Second, Shepard argues that the trial of the Watergate cover-up case involved judicial and prosecutorial abuse of such magnitude that the resulting guilty verdicts may have to be vacated.
He maintains that the real culprits who had been orchestrating the cover-up were let off relatively Scot-free in exchange for their questionable testimony against Nixon and his top three aides, Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and John Mitchell.
Shepard is currently writing a book about the cover-up trial, but many of his points can be seen in his February 9, 2012 presentation at the Nixon Library entitled, “Due Process and the Watergate Trials, Did Politics Trump the Rule of Law?”
- Watch Shepard at the Nixon Foundation (February 9, 2012)
Shepard also outlined his view in article on The Atlantic website on August 8, 2013, entitled “Leon Jaworski’s Telltale Memos“, which details four secret ex parte meetings between trial judge John Sirica and Special Prosecutor Jaworski.
Access to all of Shepard’s essays, presentations, and other Watergate materials – including an extensively-detailed Watergate chronology – is available from his website.