Robert Mardian, lawyer for Nixon

Robert Mardian, lawyer for Nixon

SAN CLEMENTE, California – Robert Mardian (82), an attorney for President Richard Nixon’s re-election committee whose conviction in the Watergate scandal was overturned, has died.

The attorney long denied helping conceal the Nixon administration’s involvement in the break-in and attempted bugging of the Democratic National Headquarters office at the Watergate complex. Nixon had named him head of the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department in 1970, but Mardian left two years later to work for Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President, known as CREEP.He represented the committee when the Democratic National Committee sued shortly after the 1972 break-in.The government accused Mardian of interfering in its investigation when he interviewed some key figures in the Watergate break-in, said Arnold Rochvarg, a professor of law and author of the 1995 book ‘Watergate Victory: Mardian’s Appeal’.”Mardian’s defence always was he was doing this as the attorney for CREEP in the civil suit,” Rochvarg told the Los Angeles Times.”The government’s position was he was talking to everybody as a conspirator to obstruct justice.”In March 1974, Mardian and six others were indicted; five went to trial.Mardian was charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.During the trial, Mardian contradicted much of the testimony against him, including witnesses who said he was key to getting the Watergate burglars released from jail before the administration’s connections were discovered.Mardian, who was golfing on the West Coast when he learned of the break-in, said that was impossible given his location and the time difference.In October 1976, a federal appeals court ruled Mardian should have been tried separately.Rather than retrying Mardian, the special prosecutor dropped the charge.The youngest son of Armenian immigrants, Mardian was born on October 23 1923 in Pasadena.Mardian served as western regional director for Senator Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign in 1964 and chairman of Ronald Reagan’s advisory committee during the 1966 California gubernatorial campaign.Two years later, he was the Western states co-chairman for Nixon’s presidential campaign.After Nixon’s inauguration, Mardian became general counsel to what was then the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and was later appointed to be executive director of the Cabinet Committee on Education.After leaving government work in 1972, Mardian moved to Phoenix to join his family’s construction business.He retired in 2002.- Nampa-APNixon had named him head of the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department in 1970, but Mardian left two years later to work for Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President, known as CREEP.He represented the committee when the Democratic National Committee sued shortly after the 1972 break-in.The government accused Mardian of interfering in its investigation when he interviewed some key figures in the Watergate break-in, said Arnold Rochvarg, a professor of law and author of the 1995 book ‘Watergate Victory: Mardian’s Appeal’.”Mardian’s defence always was he was doing this as the attorney for CREEP in the civil suit,” Rochvarg told the Los Angeles Times.”The government’s position was he was talking to everybody as a conspirator to obstruct justice.”In March 1974, Mardian and six others were indicted; five went to trial.Mardian was charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.During the trial, Mardian contradicted much of the testimony against him, including witnesses who said he was key to getting the Watergate burglars released from jail before the administration’s connections were discovered.Mardian, who was golfing on the West Coast when he learned of the break-in, said that was impossible given his location and the time difference.In October 1976, a federal appeals court ruled Mardian should have been tried separately.Rather than retrying Mardian, the special prosecutor dropped the charge.The youngest son of Armenian immigrants, Mardian was born on October 23 1923 in Pasadena.Mardian served as western regional director for Senator Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign in 1964 and chairman of Ronald Reagan’s advisory committee during the 1966 California gubernatorial campaign.Two years later, he was the Western states co-chairman for Nixon’s presidential campaign.After Nixon’s inauguration, Mardian became general counsel to what was then the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and was later appointed to be executive director of the Cabinet Committee on Education.After leaving government work in 1972, Mardian moved to Phoenix to join his family’s construction business.He retired in 2002.- Nampa-AP

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