Key Nixon Adviser John D. Ehlrichman Dies at 73

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 16, 1999

John D. Ehrlichman, 73, the White House domestic affairs adviser imprisoned for his role in the Watergate scandal, died Feb. 14 at his home in Atlanta. Mr. Ehrlichman's son Tom said his father had diabetes.

Mr. Ehrlichman was one of the most prominent members of the administration of Richard M. Nixon. Often scowling from beneath bristling eyebrows, the energetic Mr. Ehrlichman seemed to symbolize, in his pugnacity, the administration's determination to confront its foes and reshape policy over a wide front.

He was convicted in the Watergate coverup along with H.R. Haldeman, the White House chief of staff, and John N. Mitchell, the attorney general. In a separate trial, he was convicted for the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, a Vietnam War critic.

After serving 18 months in federal prison, Mr. Ehrlichman, a disbarred lawyer, made a new life for himself as an author and appeared to have changed his personality as well. Once known as a brusque stickler for efficiency, he grew a beard and seemed mellow, relaxed and amiable.

He suggested that his earlier image might have been distorted.

"I was never the person everybody saw in the Watergate hearings," he told an interviewer in 1979. Arguing for a balanced view of the administration in which he was a principal figure, he cited such accomplishments as its passage of significant environmental legislation.

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