Once-Secret Watergate Files Sought By Local Professor Released

Hundreds of pages of once-secret Watergate-era documents sought by a Central Texas history professor were made public Friday.

(File)

WASHINGTON (November 30, 2012)--The National Archives Friday made public for the first time more than 850 pages of once-secret documents from the Watergate political scandal, including privileged legal conversations and prison evaluations of some Watergate burglars.

A federal judge unsealed the material earlier this month at the request of a Texas college history professor.

Luke Nichter of Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen, wrote the judge in 2009 to ask that the documents be unsealed.

Nichter specializes in 20th century U.S. political history and created a website that makes the most complete collection of digitized Nixon tapes available to researchers.

He recently finished a book-length biography of former President George W. Bush.

The files released Friday do not appear to provide any significant new revelations, but they do provide context by revealing behind-the-scenes deliberations by the judge in charge of the case, U.S. District Court Judge John J. Sirica, along with prosecutors and defense lawyers.

The files showed the judge at times discussing the case with special prosecutors and justifying his attempts to learn new facts in the case.


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