Decision: The Debategate Probe Fizzles

A ruling by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals may finally end the affair dubbed "Debategate." The court unanimously overturned an order issued by a lower federal court judge that directed Attorney General William French Smith to call for a special prosecutor to look into allegations that the 1980 Reagan campaign illegally obtained briefing materials prepared for President Carter before the two candidates debated.

Smith declined to request a special prosecutor when an eight-month Justice Department investigation failed to turn up evidence that a crime had occurred. A lawsuit, brought under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, argued...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!