I have been fortunate to get to know John Dean over the last number of years. We travel the country presenting seminars, mostly for lawyers, on the lessons and legacy of Watergate. [The Legacy of Watergate @ www.watergatecle.com]. Our particular focus is on John’s role as inhouse lawyer for the White House. What are a lawyer’s professional ethical duties when confronted with organizational fraud or crime? Watergate, we teach, changed legal ethics for the good – it is one of Watergate’s few remaining positive legacies. Most lawyers in most states are required every year or two to take an ethics course because of Watergate.
During our travels, I talked with John about his massive undertaking to transcribe and understand the Nixon tapes with regard to Watergate. How did this crisis ruin a presidency? What critical mistakes were made? Could the situation have been salvaged?