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White House Counsel John Dean to reveal more Watergate details in second CLE session

Special to the Legal News

Published: July 31, 2012

In a spin-off of a CLE course offered last year to commemorate the looming 40th anniversary of Watergate, John Dean will return to Columbus Aug. 15 to discuss more of his role in the political scandal.

“One of the best summer sequels isn’t in the movie theater. It’s a follow-up to the Ohio State Bar Association Watergate I CLE last year that focused on the week following the Watergate break-ins during the Nixon presidency,” an OSBA statement read.

Dean, who served as White House counsel to President Richard Nixon for 1,000 days, is slated to reveal more details surrounding the June 17, 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters.

The Watergate I CLE, presented last August, focused on the first week that followed the incident and Dean’s ethical duties of confidentiality and his response to the discovery of the crime.

The OSBA statement said this year’s CLE will delve into Dean’s break with his superiors and examine the risks and legal challenges he faced in reporting the criminal activities he uncovered.

“The seminar is all about John Dean’s ‘cancer on the presidency’ conversation with President Richard Nixon and promises to be a most unique examination of legal ethics,” the release stated.

For his role in the national controversy, Dean was disbarred as a lawyer after pleading guilty to being involved in the cover up. He also spent four months in a minimum-security prison following his plea.

The CLE course, which will be available through webcast, will feature Dean and James Robenalt, a partner at Thompson Hine LLP of Cleveland.

Robenalt, who has worked with Dean on several projects involving American presidents, approached the former attorney with the idea of the CLE series and has called Watergate “such a major turning point in history.”

The course will cover the details of the Nixon tapes, a review of Watergate’s initial days leading up to Dean’s conversation with the president, a break down of the “cancer on the presidency” talk and Dean’s decision to break ranks.

Dean has authored two books recounting his time in the Nixon administration.

In addition to the Columbus session at the OSBA offices, the CLE will be presented Aug. 13 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Cleveland, Aug. 14 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron, Aug. 16 at the Sinclair Community College in Dayton and Aug. 17 at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati.

Lawyers interested in attending the Columbus session can register on the OSBA website at or by calling the OSBA Member Service Center at 800-232-7124 or 614-487-8585.

Those who attended the Watergate I CLE will be eligible for a $50 discount if they register before Aug. 1.

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