6 episodes

On June 17, 1972, five burglars were arrested in the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate complex. During the next ten days, decisions were made that doomed Richard Nixon’s presidency and ultimately led to the most publicized legal and political conspiracy to date. Forty years later, the legacy of Watergate is much more than just a fading memory; legislation was born in the scandal’s aftermath; rules of legal ethics were shaped to prevent future scandals; and, presidential powers and immunities were altered forever. For many, Watergate is just history, but for the legal community, it is a pivotal marker in the development of modern law.

It has been four decades since John Dean, Counsel to the White House, learned that police arrested five men for breaking into and entering the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex. Dean was 34 years old. Events that unfolded in the week following the break-in would lead directly to the resignation of Richard M. Nixon, the nation's 37th President. A conversation held in the Oval Office on Friday, June 23, 1972, would prove to be the final straw. Two years later, when a tape recording of the June 23 conversation was released, Nixon's support in Congress evaporated and he resigned. That tape became known as the "Smoking Gun" tape. In examining the legacy of Watergate, Mr. Dean walks us through the first week after the break-in, laying out the ethical and legal dilemmas he faced as he learned more about the situation before him. The Watergate story is powerful, instructive, and fascinating, particularly as told by those who lived it. Linking current ethics issues to the compelling narrative of Watergate, Mr. Dean, along with lawyer/historian Jim Robenalt, and Professor Ron Rotunda will lead the session. Constitutional law professor Ron Rotunda, a recognized authority on ethics, was assistant majority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee and later was an advisor to Ken Starr in the Whitewater investigations that led to President Clinton's impeachment. Included in the presentation will be (never-rebroadcast) video from the Senate Watergate Committee hearings, archived video of Nixon's public statements about Watergate, excerpts from Nixon's secretly recorded audio tapes (some of which became available only recently), photos and relevant documents.

The panel discussions include: Nixon’s Secret Tapes: Evidence that Politically, Legally and Historically Defined Watergate, Constitutional Significance of Watergate: New Perspectives, The Legacy of Watergate: Reform 40 years later. John Dean will be Friday’s Keynote Dialogue luncheon speaker. Mr. Dean was counsel to President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal and it was his testimony that first linked Nixon directly to the burglary.

Watergate Chapman University

    • News

On June 17, 1972, five burglars were arrested in the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate complex. During the next ten days, decisions were made that doomed Richard Nixon’s presidency and ultimately led to the most publicized legal and political conspiracy to date. Forty years later, the legacy of Watergate is much more than just a fading memory; legislation was born in the scandal’s aftermath; rules of legal ethics were shaped to prevent future scandals; and, presidential powers and immunities were altered forever. For many, Watergate is just history, but for the legal community, it is a pivotal marker in the development of modern law.

It has been four decades since John Dean, Counsel to the White House, learned that police arrested five men for breaking into and entering the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex. Dean was 34 years old. Events that unfolded in the week following the break-in would lead directly to the resignation of Richard M. Nixon, the nation's 37th President. A conversation held in the Oval Office on Friday, June 23, 1972, would prove to be the final straw. Two years later, when a tape recording of the June 23 conversation was released, Nixon's support in Congress evaporated and he resigned. That tape became known as the "Smoking Gun" tape. In examining the legacy of Watergate, Mr. Dean walks us through the first week after the break-in, laying out the ethical and legal dilemmas he faced as he learned more about the situation before him. The Watergate story is powerful, instructive, and fascinating, particularly as told by those who lived it. Linking current ethics issues to the compelling narrative of Watergate, Mr. Dean, along with lawyer/historian Jim Robenalt, and Professor Ron Rotunda will lead the session. Constitutional law professor Ron Rotunda, a recognized authority on ethics, was assistant majority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee and later was an advisor to Ken Starr in the Whitewater investigations that led to President Clinton's impeachment. Included in the presentation will be (never-rebroadcast) video from the Senate Watergate Committee hearings, archived video of Nixon's public statements about Watergate, excerpts from Nixon's secretly recorded audio tapes (some of which became available only recently), photos and relevant documents.

The panel discussions include: Nixon’s Secret Tapes: Evidence that Politically, Legally and Historically Defined Watergate, Constitutional Significance of Watergate: New Perspectives, The Legacy of Watergate: Reform 40 years later. John Dean will be Friday’s Keynote Dialogue luncheon speaker. Mr. Dean was counsel to President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal and it was his testimony that first linked Nixon directly to the burglary.

    • video
    Opening Remarks with Tom Campbell

    Opening Remarks with Tom Campbell

    "It is very rare for the Judicial Branch to come down so strongly on the Executive Branch," says Chapman University Law School dean, Tom Campbell, in regard to the 8-0 vote for impeaching President Nixon after the subpoena of the tapes. Dean Campbell gives insight into United States v. Nixon including what he calls Nixon's challenge to the Supreme Court and how this case was a defining moment between the Judicial and Executive Branches. Campbell explains that we are still feeling the repercussions of the case today. Taped by Panther Productions at Chapman University.

    • 18 min
    • video
    President Nixon's Secret Tapes: Evidence that Politically, Legally, and Historically Defined Watergate

    President Nixon's Secret Tapes: Evidence that Politically, Legally, and Historically Defined Watergate

    Former White House counsel, John W. Dean, moderates a discussion about the Watergate investigation and how evidence was found and used to persecute President Nixon. Panel guests include Scott Armstrong, Chief Investigator for the Senate Watergate Committee and Alexander Butterfield, the head of internal security at the White House at the time. Get an inside look at the evidence that caused President Nixon to resign, from two people who lived in the thick of it. Taped by Panther Productions at Chapman University.

    • 1 hr 17 min
    • video
    The Legacy of Watergate: Reform 40 Years Later

    The Legacy of Watergate: Reform 40 Years Later

    Watergate remains an important marker in the development of modern law. Four panelists discuss the moral issues associated with Watergate. What exactly were the ethical dilemmas faced by the lawyers in this situation? Are the same rules still operating today? And, were these ethical lapses or hard criminal offenses? Issues like attorney-client privilege, fear of losing a client and lack of knowledge of criminal law are discussed to try to clarify why Watergate happened and if law today lives in an environment that allows for such scandals to develop. About the panelists:
    Jill Wine-Banks was the Watergate Special Prosecutor who cross-examined Rosemary Woods, the President's secretary, about the missing 18 and a half minutes of missing tape.
    Arnold Rochvarg is a law professor at University of Baltimore who served on Watergate defendant's Robert Mardian's team and secured a reversal of his conviction.
    James D. Robenalt, Thompson Hine LLP, is currently in a partnership with John W. Dean, Nixon's White House Counsel, to create a national continuing education program entitled "The Watergate CLE."
    Laurel Rigertas is an associate professor at Northern Illinois University College of Law whose research focuses on ethics, professionalism, and access to the legal system. Taped by Panther Productions at Chapman University.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    • video
    Watergate's Unanswered Questions: 40 Years of Hindsight

    Watergate's Unanswered Questions: 40 Years of Hindsight

    John W. Dean, former counsel to the White House, is in the process of collecting and analyzing nearly 2,000 conversations that were recorded as the events of Watergate were unfolding. What did Nixon know and when? Dean describes his plan to make a dialogue out of these transcripts to tell the "Inside Watergate"story in an easily understandable way. He explains the political reforms that came out of the scandal, then fields questions from the audience (beginning at 15:45). Why didn't people use the 5th amendment during the trials? What was the process and logic that Dean went through as one of the biggest whistleblowers of all time? Taped by Panther Productions at Chapman University.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    • video
    The Constitutional Significance of Watergate: New Perspectives

    The Constitutional Significance of Watergate: New Perspectives

    How has the president's position, executive power and federal prosecutorial power changed since Watergate? How pervasive is "quid pro quo" corruption in government today? Four professors answer these questions and others illuminating the constitutional significance of Watergate. Speakers include Richard Broughton, University of Detroit Mercy professor who worked previously in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; Jonathan L. Entin, Associate Dean of Western Reserve University; Clara Torres-Spelliscy, Asst. Professor of Stetson University College of Law; and Stephen M. Griffin, Professor of Constitutional Law at Tulane University. Taped by Panther Productions at Chapman University.

    • 47 min
    • video
    Closing Remarks with Ronald Rotunda

    Closing Remarks with Ronald Rotunda

    Assistant Majority Counsel for the Watergate Committee and Chapman Law School Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, Ronald Rotunda, closes the Watergate symposium by giving the young legals in attendance his key take-aways from the scandal. He says that the people involved didn't decide they would gravely violate the law, but instead that this happened through baby steps over time. He puts the case in perspective and illustrates lessons legal students can adopt to help them navigate their careers ethically and professionally. Taped by Panther Productions at Chapman University.

    • 9 min

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