Nearly 40 years later, this seems anticlimactic…unless you are a historian interested in finding out exactly how all of this went down:
A federal judge has ordered the release of long-sealed records relating to the 1973 trial of Watergate conspirators G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord, both of whom served as officials of President Richard Nixon’s re-election bid.
Chief Judge Royce Lamberth, acting on a petition from Texas A&M history professor Luke Nichter, issued an order Friday setting in motion the unsealing.
Lamberth’s order (posted here) unseals all records in the case apart from grand jury records, sentencing reports relating to living individuals, and “documents reflecting the contents of illegally obtained wiretaps.” The Justice Department had agreed with unsealing of the Liddy case records, aside from those three categories.
In an interview Friday, Nichter hailed the judge’s decision. “The National Archives has told me they have an enormous quantity of Watergate records still sealed,” the professor said. “They’ve told me they hope to bring these documents out of legal limbo, but you can’t get them under [the Freedom of Information Act.] It takes extraordinary action by a judge to bring them out.”
Nichter said he believes at least some of the sealed records relate to Alfred Baldwin, a potential witness in the Libby case who was involved in wiretapping the Democratic National Committee’s Watergate office that was broken into. Prosecutors sought to put Baldwin on the stand, but third-parties—apparently those overheard in the wiretaps—managed to block his testimony…