Former Nixon counsel changes perspective on Watergate - KMSP-TV

Former Nixon counsel changes perspective on Watergate

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - In his early 30s, John W. Dean was White House counsel for the Nixon administration. 

As the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation approaches, Dean has released his findings of about 1,000 recorded phone conversations Nixon had in the time leading up to his downfall as President of the United States.

"What I tried to do was piece together a day-by-day picture of how Nixon got into the mess he got into,” said Dean.

Nobody had ever delved into the recorded conversations not even the National Archives.

“All they do is prepare a subject log. There is no transcription at all,’ said Dean.

The recordings, transcribed by Dean and a group of graduate students over the course of four years, changed his perspective on the disgraced former president, his downfall and Watergate.

"On every page of that book there is something I do not know. A combination of some really bad decision making, Nixon slowly but surely destroys his own presidency. Initially he is not deeply involved but as he progresses … he really takes charge," said Dean.

The downfall began with the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in June 1972.

Dean ultimately became a key witness for the prosecution and helped convict four of the five Watergate robbers. He served a year and a half in a safe way house in the witness protection program.

"I plead to a conspiracy to obstruct justice," said Dean.

In the end, Dean found that Nixon's "character influenced how he resolved this and he makes decisions with no facts."

Dean will be signing copies of 'The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It' at Barnes & Noble, 2289 Broadway and 82nd St., Manhattan, on Wednesday, July 30 at 7 p.m.

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