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Watergate Conspirator Jeb Stuart Magruder Dies At 79

Jeb Stuart Magruder, then a Presbyterian minister, in 1995. Magruder, a top Nixon campaign official who went to prison for his role in Watergate, died on Sunday in Danbury, Conn.
Breck Smither
/
AP
Jeb Stuart Magruder, then a Presbyterian minister, in 1995. Magruder, a top Nixon campaign official who went to prison for his role in Watergate, died on Sunday in Danbury, Conn.

Jeb Stuart Magruder, a former Nixon campaign official who pleaded guilty to conspiracy for his role in the Watergate break in and coverup, has died at 79.

Magruder, who became a Presbyterian minister after serving seven months in federal prison over the Watergate affair, died on Sunday of complications from a stroke, according to a death notice published by a Connecticut funeral home.

USAToday reports:

"Magruder helped authorize the unsuccessful June 17, 1972, break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington's Watergate office complex. The arrest of the five burglars that night triggered a coverup by the campaign, which spread to the White House and was enthusiastically embraced by Nixon. Nixon resigned in August 1974 after continued revelations about his role in the scandal and other issues.

"Magruder worked with White House counsel John Dean and political intelligence operative G. Gordon Liddy to arrange the break-in, although Magruder's version of events differed repeatedly throughout the years following the break-in. He was one of the 25 people who ended up going to prison for their roles in the Watergate scandal."

Bloomberg notes:

"In 2003, Magruder said, for the first time, that he had heard Nixon tell John Mitchell, the former attorney general who was head of the president's re-election campaign, over the telephone on March 30, 1972, to proceed with the plan to break into the Democratic Party headquarters.

" 'His voice is very distinct, and you couldn't miss who was on the phone,' Magruder said of Nixon's telephone instructions in a 2003 interview with The Associated Press."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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