On November 17, 2004, the Society put on an exciting program, “Reflections on Watergate.” Nearly 30 years after the jury returned its verdict finding President Nixon’s closest advisors guilty of obstruction of justice, the key participants in that historic trial came together for the first time since the trial to discuss its historic significance and the lessons learned.

Lead prosecutor, James F. Neal; Attorney General John Mitchell’s counsel, Plato Cacheris; the lead government witness, former Counsel to the President John Dean; and Judge John Sirica’s law clerk, D. Todd Christofferson, gave their unique perspectives on the events that led to President Nixon’s resignation and the subsequent cover-up trial.

Former NBC News Correspondent Carl Stern moderated the panel discussion.

Some highlights of the program included details of how taped conversations made in the Oval Office, together with John Dean’s testimony, identified those who participated in the cover-up of the Watergate break-in; how Dean spent hours in the basement of the Courthouse painstakingly reviewing each tape prior to the trial; and how the White House became, in James Neal’s words, a place where “anything goes.”

The Watergate Cover-Up Trial

Both James Neal and John Dean expressed the view that President Nixon did not know beforehand of the plans for the break-in.

The panel shed new light on this important event in history and provided anecdotal information about the trial and the participants that fascinated the audience of judges, attorneys, law clerks, and others.

Click here to read the biographies of the Watergate Panelists and Moderator.