In this second half of my conversation with Geoff Shepard (part 1 here, if you missed it), we walk through the famous “smoking gun” Oval Office tape of June 23, 1972, which was the final straw that led to Nixon’s resignation in August, 1974. Except we’ve got the facts all wrong about what was actually being discussed. Shepard walks through the matter, and then moves on to his devastating evidence that the special prosecutors behaved unethically and perhaps illegally (such as committing “Brady” violations in not sharing exculpatory evidence with Nixon’s defense team). Much of this evidence Shepard has been able to pry loose only in the last few years, and there is more to come soon.

Finally, we draw some parallels to the January 6 investigation today, noting what social scientists might call “pattern recognition” about certain aspects of the way politics is driving the scene more than the law.

For more on the whole matter (including the original documents that Shepard uses to build his case), see his excellent website.

Writing about the Watergate scandal in the 1980s, political scientist John Marini said “The passage of time has not resulted in greater clarity concerning what it is we should have learned from the event, perhaps because we still lack an authoritative account of it.”

Having reached the 50th anniversary of the most famous “burglary” in history, we may be coming closer to have a complete understanding of Watergate through the original work of Geoff Shepard. Shepard was a young lawyer on the White House staff through the entire Watergate agony, and is one of the last insiders from that saga still living.