United States v. Mitchell, Misc. No. 74-128.

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Citation397 F. Supp. 186
Docket NumberMisc. No. 74-128.
PartiesUNITED STATES of America v. John N. MITCHELL et al. In re NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY, INC., et al.
Decision Date04 April 1975

397 F. Supp. 186

UNITED STATES of America
v.
John N. MITCHELL et al.
In re NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY, INC., et al.

Misc. No. 74-128.

United States District Court, District of Columbia.

April 4, 1975.


397 F. Supp. 187

Floyd Abrams, Eugene R. Scheiman, New York City, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, Washington, D. C., Henry S. Ruth, Sp. Prosecutor, Peter M. Kreindler, Counsel to the Sp. Prosecutor, Richard BenVeniste, Asst. Sp. Prosecutor, Watergate Sp. Prosecution Force, Washington, D. C., for National Broadcasting Co., Inc., American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., CBS Inc., Radio Television News Directors Association, and Public Broadcasting Service.

William G. Hundley, Plato Cacheris, Hundley, Cacheris & Sharp, P. C., Washington, D. C., for John Mitchell.

John J. Wilson, Whiteford, Hart, Carmody & Wilson, Washington, D. C., for H. R. Haldeman.

Thomas C. Green, Ginsburg, Feldman & Bress, Washington, D. C., for Robert C. Mardian.

William S. Frates, Andrew C. Hall, Frates, Floyd, Pearson, Stewart Proenza & Richman, Miami, Fla., for John Ehrlichman.

Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Richard M. Cooper, Williams, Connolly & Califano, Washington, D. C., and Sidney S. Rosdeitcher, Paul, Weiss, Rifkin, Wharton & Garrison, New York City, for Warner Communications, Inc.

Herbert J. Miller Jr., William H. Jeffress, Jr., Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, Washington, D. C., for Richard Nixon.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SIRICA, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court solely for consideration of the narrow issue of the timing of the release, if ever, of certain tapes received in evidence in the case of United States v. Mitchell, et al., CR 74-110. Since this case was returned to the Court by Judge Gesell on January 8, 1975, the Court has given serious consideration to this issue.

As noted by Judge Gesell in his Memorandum and Order of December 5, 1974, 385 F.Supp. 1190, and as further indicated in his Order of January 8, 1975, there are several obstacles which must be overcome before the tapes might be released. Because of the difficulties which Judge Gesell anticipated, including such problems as administration, funds, technology and manpower, he ordered that no attempt to copy the tapes should be made "until after the trial." (Memorandum

397 F. Supp. 188
and Order, December 5, 1974, at 7, 385 F.Supp. 1190.)

This Court, as the trial court, is well aware of the many problems that must be resolved before any presidential tapes might be reproduced and distributed to the public at large. At present the Court is seriously concerned about the problem of the timing of any release or reproduction of the tapes. On March 6, 1975, the Court presided at a hearing at which counsel for the applicants, as well as Mr. Nixon's attorney and a representative of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force addressed this single issue. At the Court's request briefs were submitted thereafter and the Court took the matter under advisement.

All four defendants convicted in the aforementioned criminal trial have filed notices of appeal in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Should one or more of the defendants prevail on appeal the case might have to be retried, which would mean that a new jury would have to be empanelled and the evidence resubmitted. Thus, the Court still must be careful to protect the rights of the defendants as well as the integrity of the evidence. Absent some compelling reason, the Court should not take any action which carries the risk of causing possible prejudice to the rights of the defendants should a...

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8 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Hubbard, Nos. 79-2312
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 9 Febrero 1981
    ...to the assertion of non-party interests in criminal proceedings. In United States v. Mitchell, 386 F.Supp. 639, 640 (D.D.C.1975) and 397 F.Supp. 186 (D.D.C.1975) members of the media seeking access to the "White House tapes" introduced in evidence and played at trial in the "Watergate case,......
  • Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc, No. 76-944
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 18 Abril 1978
    ...4, 1975, Judge Sirica denied without prejudice respondents' petitions for immediate access to the tapes. United States v. Mitchell, 397 F.Supp. 186. Observing that all four men convicted in the Mitchell trial had filed notices of appeal, he declared that their rights could be prejudiced if ......
  • U.S. v. Mitchell, Nos. 75-1409 and 75-1410
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 28 Marzo 1977
    ...at this stage would delay the ultimate determination of the issues." 11 Id. (Order of January 8, 1975). 12 United States v. Mitchell, 397 F.Supp. 186, 187 (D.D.C.1975). 13 Id. at 188. 14 Id. at 188-189. 15 H. Cross, The People's Right to Know 25 (1953); 66 Am.Jur.2d Records and Recording La......
  • Washington Legal Foundation v. U.S. Sentencing Com'n, No. 94-5334
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 30 Julio 1996
    ...in the interest of avoiding prejudice to the Watergate defendants should a new trial be ordered on appeal. United States v. Mitchell, 397 F.Supp. 186 (D.D.C.1975). We reversed, holding that the common law right clearly extended to the tapes once they were used as exhibits in a judicial proc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • U.S. v. Hubbard, Nos. 79-2312
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 9 Febrero 1981
    ...to the assertion of non-party interests in criminal proceedings. In United States v. Mitchell, 386 F.Supp. 639, 640 (D.D.C.1975) and 397 F.Supp. 186 (D.D.C.1975) members of the media seeking access to the "White House tapes" introduced in evidence and played at trial in the "Watergate case,......
  • Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc, No. 76-944
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 18 Abril 1978
    ...4, 1975, Judge Sirica denied without prejudice respondents' petitions for immediate access to the tapes. United States v. Mitchell, 397 F.Supp. 186. Observing that all four men convicted in the Mitchell trial had filed notices of appeal, he declared that their rights could be prejudiced if ......
  • U.S. v. Mitchell, Nos. 75-1409 and 75-1410
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 28 Marzo 1977
    ...at this stage would delay the ultimate determination of the issues." 11 Id. (Order of January 8, 1975). 12 United States v. Mitchell, 397 F.Supp. 186, 187 (D.D.C.1975). 13 Id. at 188. 14 Id. at 188-189. 15 H. Cross, The People's Right to Know 25 (1953); 66 Am.Jur.2d Records and Recording La......
  • Washington Legal Foundation v. U.S. Sentencing Com'n, No. 94-5334
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 30 Julio 1996
    ...in the interest of avoiding prejudice to the Watergate defendants should a new trial be ordered on appeal. United States v. Mitchell, 397 F.Supp. 186 (D.D.C.1975). We reversed, holding that the common law right clearly extended to the tapes once they were used as exhibits in a judicial proc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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