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The Legacy of Watergate

To mark the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, Hollywood on the Potomac looks back at it’s most interesting interviews with the principals starting with Jill Wine, prosecutor. During the Watergate proceedings she cross-examined President Richard Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods about the 18 ½ minute gap on the Watergate tapes.

We asked her to describe what that experience was like. “Well remember, at the time I was quite young and we were up against the White House. We were called the children’s march against the wicked king and so it was really kind of unusual and I would say a little bit scary to take on the President, but we were professional prosecutors and we were just looking for the truth,” she told us at the Washington screening of All The President’s Men Revisted. “I believe we found it. I don’t think without the tapes it would have been quite as persuasive a case as we had, but the tapes really made it completely clear about guilt.”

We asked her if she liked or disliked the President and how she felt about those testifying. “I don’t think a question of like or dislike was ever the question. At the time John Dean to me was almost a machine. He was someone that you asked a question and he gave you an answer. I have since in recent years been doing a lot of speaking about Watergate and John and I have been on panels together so I’ve come to know him as a person. It turns out that he actually lived in Evanston which is where I currently live in Illinois. It’s been interesting to get to know Steve Bull and Alex Butterfield and John Dean, and all those people as real people not as just a witness that you ask a question of.”