The Law: The Immunity Game

This week Federal Judge John J. Sirica will hold hearings and issue a ruling on one of the most important tactical questions of the entire Watergate investigation: Should former White House Counsel John W. Dean III be granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his uninhibited testimony about who organized the affair and who tried to cover it up?

Such grants of immunity raise embarrassing moral questions, since they permit a wrongdoer to escape punishment by the simple expedient of informing on his associates. Yet legal authorities have traditionally accepted the pragmatic...

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