The Law: Watergate Bargains: Were They Necessary?

Since the original Watergate break-in trial, only one defendant, Dwight Chapin, has been prosecuted all the way to a guilty verdict (he was convicted of perjury). Meanwhile, one by one, Frederick LaRue, Jeb Magruder, Donald Segretti, John Dean, Egil Krogh, Herbert Porter, Herbert Kalmbach, Richard Kleindienst and Charles Colson have all made bargains with the special prosecutor's office and pleaded guilty to reduced offenses. If nothing else, their pleas have raised doubts among both civil libertarians and law-and-order hardliners: Were the deals really necessary?

By far the most controversial bargain was the one...

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