Judge orders Nixon grand jury testimony unsealed

July 29, 2011

A federal judge has ordered the government to unseal grand jury transcripts of testimony by former President Richard Nixon about the Watergate scandal.

The ruling, from Chief U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, came in a lawsuit brought by a historian and several historical associations.

The testimony was taken near Nixon’s California home in 1975 – after he had resigned in the wake of the scandal.

The Watergate scandal, which began with a June 1972 burglary in Washington, eventually led to the President’s resignation after investigations linked the burglars to top White House operatives.

“The special circumstances presented here – namely, undisputed historical interest in the requested records – far outweigh the need to maintain the secrecy of the records,” Lamberth wrote. “The Court is confident that disclosure will greatly benefit the public and its understanding of Watergate without compromising the tradition and objectives of grand jury secrecy.”

The government is entitled to appeal the ruling.

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