Nixon counsel Leonard Garment, 89, dies

NEW YORK, July 15 (UPI) -- Lawyer Leonard Garment, who provided President Richard Nixon legal advice during the Watergate scandal, has died at age 89, his daughter said.

Dr. Ann Garment said her father died Saturday at his Manhattan home, The New York Times reported.


The newspaper said Garment advised Nixon against destroying White House tapes that shed light on the Watergate coverup and had tried to get the president to resign earlier than he eventually did. Garment also recommended that Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, pardon the disgraced president.

Garment, who had been Nixon's law firm partner, quit as his Watergate lawyer in late 1973.

Garment also represented U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III and Robert C. McFarlane, a national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, the Time said.

Garment later wrote he had not been exposed to Nixon's dark side.

"My feelings about Mr. Nixon remained the same until his death -- a tangle of familial echoes, affections and curiosities never satisfied," he wrote in his 1997 autobiography. "The Nixon who was despised by millions of strangers, and who aroused powerful ambivalence in close associates because of his nasty mood swings between grandiosity and pettiness, was not the Nixon I knew. I was exposed mainly to his attractive sides -- his intelligence, idealism, and generosity. Only by 'hearsay,' mainly tape-recorded, did I 'see' the fulminating stranger I was happy not to know."


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