509 F.2d 428 (D.C. Cir. 1974), 73--1565, United States v. Liddy

Docket Nº:73--1565.
Citation:509 F.2d 428
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America v. George Gordon LIDDY, a/k/a George F. Leonard, Appellant.
Case Date:November 08, 1974
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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509 F.2d 428 (D.C. Cir. 1974)



George Gordon LIDDY, a/k/a George F. Leonard, Appellant.

No. 73--1565.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

November 8, 1974

Argued June 14, 1974.

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Peter L. Maroulis, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for appellant. Thomas A. Kennelly, Washington, D.C., also entered an appearance for appellant.

Sidney M. Glazer, Asst. Sp. Prosecutor, for appellee. Leon Jaworski, Sp. Prosecutor, Philip A. Lacovara, Counsel for the Sp. Prosecutor, Richard D. Weinberg and Robert L. Palmer, Asst. Counsel to the Sp. Prosecutor, were on the brief for appellee.

Before BAZELON, Chief Judge, and WRIGHT, McGOWAN, LEVENTHAL, ROBINSON, MacKINNON and WILKEY, Circuit Judges, sitting en banc.

LEVENTHAL, Circuit Judge:

Appellant Liddy seeks reversal of his conviction on charges relating to the burglary and wiretapping of the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate apartment-office building complex in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 17, 1972. Appellant was named in six counts of an eight count indictment returned against seven defendants 1 on September 15, 1972. On January 8, 1973, jury selection began before

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then Chief Judge John J. Sirica of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Shortly after the trial commenced, five defendants changed their pleas to guilty. 2 On January 30, 1973, the remaining defendants, appellant Liddy and James W. McCord, Jr., were found guilty by the jury. Appellant was convicted of conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (count 1), burglary in violation of 22 D.C.Code § 1801(b) (counts 2 and 3), and unlawful endeavor to intercept oral and wire communications and interception of communications in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2511(1)(a) (counts 4, 5, and 8). The sentences imposed by Judge Sirica on Liddy on March 23, 1973, are set forth in the margin. 3

Appellant presents five grounds for reversal: (1) The trial judge erred in conducting voir dire by refusing to engage in individual questioning of each venireman who had been exposed to pretrial publicity. (2) The trial judge erred in reading to the jury the testimony of a government witness and related bench conferences taken outside of the jury's presence. (3) Instructions improperly allowed the jury to consider the time and circumstances under which appellant retained an attorney as bearing on his state of mind. (4) The trial judge erred in allowing testimony regarding defendant's statement that he lost his job for failure to cooperate with the FBI. (5) Appellant was denied his right to cross-examine a government witness by the trial judge's adherence to an order of this court prohibiting the introduction into evidence of the contents of illegally intercepted wire communications. We find no reversible error, and affirm.


During a three-week jury trial the Government introduced extensive evidence concerning the activities of defendants Hunt, Liddy, and McCord regarding their efforts to secure political intelligence from the headquarters of various Democratic presidential candidates and the offices of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The presentation focused on the period of May and June, 1972, during which the conspiracy was alleged to have been formed and the acts of burglary and violations of the wiretapping laws took place.

We summarize the evidence pertaining to the involvement of appellant Liddy. In late 1971 Liddy was hired by the Committee for the Reelection of the President (CRP) to serve as general counsel. Later, in January 1972, he agreed to organize an intelligence gathering operation to protect the campaign from violence and disruptions. In March, 1972, he moved from CRP down a flight of stairs to become counsel for the Finance Committee to Re-elect the President, although he continued his prior intelligence gathering assignment.

The Government presented several lines of evidence connecting Liddy with the five defendants apprehended in the DNC offices on June 17, 1972--McCord, and four residents of the Miami area, Barker, Martinez, Gonzalez, and Sturgis. First, there was the testimony of Hugh Sloan, treasurer of the finance committee. In April 1972, Sloan consulted Liddy regarding possible problems in accepting four checks drawn on a foreign (Mexican) bank, payable to and endorsed by one Manuel Ogarrio. The two agreed

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that the best way to handle these checks was to convert them into cash, and Liddy undertook to do this with the aid of friends around the country. The Government established that these Mexican checks, and also a check payable to and endorsed by a member of the finance committee totaling $114,000, were deposited in a Miami bank account by defendants Barker and Martinez on April 20, 1972, and that the bulk of the funds were withdrawn within two weeks by Barker. Liddy later returned $111,500 in $100 bills to Sloan.

Sloan further testified that he turned over to Liddy a total of $199,000 in cash, primarily in $100 bills. Bills of that denomination were given by Liddy to McCord, who was in charge of security for CRP and the finance committee, and later were found, in sequence, on McCord and the four other defendants apprehended in the DNC offices on June 17. The hundred dollar bills found on those men and in their hotel rooms were traced to Barker's Miami bank account.

In addition to the use of the checks and the hundred dollar bills, the Government introduced telephone company and hotel records. The telephone slips showed calls from Liddy to Barker placed just prior to trips made by the four Miami residents to Washington in May and June, 1972. The guest records indicated that six of the defendants, using aliases, checked in together at a Washington hotel on May 22, 1972, and rented rooms together at the Watergate Hotel until May 29, 1972.

Thomas Gregory, a college student, gave evidence tying Liddy to Hunt and other defendants in connection with plans to enter the offices used by Senator McGovern in his campaign to secure the Democratic Presidential nomination. Gregory had been hired by Hunt in early 1972 to infiltrate Senator Muskie's heaequarters and pass information to Hunt. In April, Hunt directed Gregory to switch to McGovern headquarters and continue his activities there. Gregory testified to meeting Liddy, along with Hunt, and driving around while Liddy questioned Gregory about the layout of the McGovern offices. They then proceeded to McGovern headquarters at approximately 2:00 a.m. where they found the back entrance locked and the front entrance too well lighted. Gregory met Liddy again on May 22, along with Hunt, McCord, Gonzalez, Sturgis, and two other men, at the hotel where six of the defendants had recently checked in. In Liddy's presence, Gonzalez, a locksmith, asked Gregory, McCord, and Hunt about the locks on the doors at the McGovern headquarters.

The operation for monitoring of the conversations on the intercepted DNC telephones was described by Alfred Baldwin, a former FBI agent who had been hired by McCord. McCord instructed Baldwin on the operation of the equipment he had assembled in room 419 of the Howard Johnson Motel located across the street from the DNC offices and requested that he monitor conversations which were political or personal in nature. McCord indicated that the unit was activated whenever the telephone of DNC's executive director, Spencer Oliver, was in use. In order to improve reception, the operation was moved to room 723 of the motel, which looked directly down into DNC headquarters. Through the first half of June, Baldwin estimated that he monitored 200 calls, including conversations of Oliver and his secretary Ida Mae Wells. He testified that on May 26, Hunt and Liddy came to room 419 and McCord then showed them the monitoring equipment. Later, Hunt, Liddy and McCord visited room 723 and used the balcony to survey the DNC offices.

The Arrests and Subsequent Events

When McCord, Barker, Martinez, Gonzalez, and Sturgis were apprehended in the DNC offices in the Watergate complex on June 17, at 2:00 a.m., they had in their possession walkie talkies, burglary tools, documents that had been taken from DNC files, telephone bugging devices, and equipment capable of transmitting voice conversations. Baldwin, who was acting as a lookout from the

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balcony of room 723, saw two men emerge from an alleyway near the Watergate building shortly after uniformed policemen arrived at the scene. He identified one of the men as Hunt and testified that the other was wearing a suit he recognized as Liddy's. At about 3 a.m. Hunt arrived at room 723 with a walkie talkie and used the telephone to call an attorney, Michael Douglas Caddy.

Caddy's testimony established that about a half hour after this phone call, Hunt visited Caddy's apartment. Caddy then made a series of telephone calls to retain an attorney with more experience in criminal law. Caddy stated that at about 5 a.m. Hunt called Liddy from Caddy's apartment and informed Liddy that an attorney experienced in criminal law matters had been retained. Caddy talked to Liddy and confirmed what Hunt had said. Then Hunt gave Caddy $8500 in cash, one $500 bill and the rest in $100 bills.

At 8:30 a.m., Caddy went to arraignment court where he met Joseph Rafferty, a lawyer with experience in criminal law. They checked with the clerk to see whether the arraignment sheet contained names of five individuals, names that were the aliases then being used by the five men arrested in the Watergate. Shortly thereafter the attorneys went to a police station to confer with the five men. Caddy had met...

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