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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Some History – Nixon’s Watergate Testimony to be Released

Some history may come to light fairly soon. A DC District Judge has now ordered the release of President Nixon’s grand jury testimony, as described here. The opinion is here. The issues are resolved under Federal Criminal Law Rule 6(e), and not, for example FOIA rules. An appeal may follow, but one wonders how continued secrecy could be justified for such a well-known event described in so many books and speeches. Indeed, John Dean is out teaching ethics courses about his destruction of evidence.

The opinion includes the following interesting set of citations to historic cases allowing release of grand jury testimony:

"See, e.g., In re Tabac, No. 3:08-mc-0243, 2009 WL 5213717, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 14, 2009) (finding that the Craig factors, specifically historical importance, weighed in favor of unsealing grand jury testimony relating to James Hoffa); In re Petition of Nat’l Sec. Archive, No. 08-civ-6599, Summary Order at 1–2 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 26, 2008) (finding that “substantial historical importance” justified the disclosure of grand jury records relating to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Abraham Brothman, and Miriam Moskowitz); Am. Historical Ass’n, 49 F. Supp. 2d at 297 (finding that historical interest and other relevant Craig factors outweighed the need to maintain the secrecy of grand jury transcripts relating to Alger Hiss); In re Petition of Gary May, No. M 11-189, Memorandum & Order at 3–4 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 20, 1987) (finding that “undisputed historical significance” justified the disclosure of grand jury minutes relating to William Remington, a prominent public official accused of being a Communist during the McCarthy era)."

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