By Geoff Shepard, review by Saint John Hunt

I haven't read that many books on Watergate. The subject matter cuts a little to close for comfort. The few I have read basically say the same things. My take on Watergate is completely different than anyone else's because I was there. My father is E. Howard Hunt, one of the star players of Watergate and I experienced the damage it caused to the nation and my family.

Watergate has found a comfortable niche in American History as proof that our system of law and order, of lawyers and judges, of prosecutors and defendants works. It's come to be one of the greatest example of the American system of justice; unbiased, fair, open and honest. The defeat of Richard Nixon in the court of law, as well as public opinion, along with the conviction of the men who allowed their patriotism to be hijacked and twisted, is one of the great dramas in judicial history. The righteous were victorious against the powerful and corrupt. It's David and Goliath.

The Watergate trials and the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon showed the American people that our leaders should not be given blind faith trust, and this revelation caused a crack in the confidence we the people once had in our elected leaders. The Watergate was like a fairytale. A story of good and evil with a happy simple ending. Or was it?

Geoff Shepard's highly readable and well researched book "The Real Watergate Scandal" isn't like any other Watergate related book I've ever read. The title refers not to the scandal of what Nixon and company may or may not have done, or what was known or ordered by whom and on what date, it's referring to the criminal actions by the Watergate prosecutors and Judges to railroad the defendants, and illegally control the direction and outcome of the trial. The fact that the special prosecutors met in secret sessions, behind closed doors with three Federal Judges is one of many instances of judicial misconduct. If these back room deals would have been exposed at the time, the entire case would have been thrown out and the guilty lawyers and judges would have at least been stripped or suspended from practicing law.

The Real Watergate Scandal is how the American public, thirsty for revenge, clamoring for impeachment, demanding honesty and truth, were duped into believing that what was occurring was a fair trail and an honest, unbiased investigation. Far from the truth. The Constitution and The Bill of Rights were hijacked by a corrupt cabal of self serving witch hunters who abused and perverted the powers that we the people entrusted them with.

Shepard writes, "John Sirica is a disgrace to the federal judiciary," Shepard said. "What he did ? and it's documented in the book ? at least a dozen instances of secret meetings between that judge and Watergate prosecutors and other interesting people. You don't have to be a lawyer to understand the judge isn't supposed to get together with one side before the trial and work stuff out. And Sirica did it all the time."

Also from the book, "The special prosecutor was secretly assuring court and congressional officials that Nixon had personally approved to pay another blackmail," he said. "They were wrong. They couldn't prove that. Turns out to be the opposite. But we didn't know (those of us on President Nixon's defense team) they were making this secret accusation. If Nixon had known that's what they were saying about him he never would have resigned. Nixon wasn't a quitter and he knew he hadn't done that. But we didn't even know about the accusation."

In other words, they cheated, they lied, they broke the law. It's the pot calling the kettle black.

"If what I disclosed in this book?if this stuff would have been known at the time, Nixon would have never have resigned," Shepard said.

For me it could have meant that my father may not have gone to jail, or at least not as long (almost 4 years) and that my mother may not have been killed in that mysterious Watergate plane crash. It may have meant that my family would not have been utterly destroyed and shamed, that our family could have remained together. For the country it would have denied its citizens of that happy ending where truth, justice and the American way overcome the evils of political corruption. Now we know. How ironic.

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