Liddy Testifies in Watergate Trial

ByABC News
January 30, 2001, 8:31 AM

B A L T I M O R E, Jan. 30 -- It was a floor plan of the Democratic Partyheadquarters that led G. Gordon Liddy to believe the 1972 Watergatebreak-in was really about sex, not politics.

Liddy, 70, testifying Monday about the break-in for the firsttime in 28 years, said he spent more than four years in prisonthinking the burglary was an attempt to gather politicalintelligence for President Nixons re-election campaign.

Years after his release, a Watergate author showed him the floorplan in 1972. The plan convinced Liddy the third-rate burglarywas really about finding photos linking the fiancée of White Housecounsel John Dean to a call-girl ring.

I said to myself, Oh, my God, Liddy testified in the thirdweek of his defamation trial. My eyes opened.

Prostitute Photos at Issue?

Since then, Liddy has given speeches saying the burglars wereseeking photos of Deans fiancée in a package of call-girl photosused to set up liaisons for visitors to the Democratic NationalCommittee in nearby apartments.

Liddy said the photos were kept in the desk of Ida MaxieWells, secretary to DNC official Spencer Oliver.

Wells is suing Liddy in U.S. District Court for defamation forrepeating that theory and is seeking $5.1 million in damages.

In his Monday testimony, Liddy said he had instructed theburglars to bug the offices of DNC Chairman Larry OBrien. However,a wire tap was found on the phone of Oliver, who had an office onthe other side of the building.

The floor plan showed Olivers office faced the hotel across thestreet where an eavesdropper was monitoring phone calls. Thewiretap could only transmit to a receiver in the line of sight,meaning OBriens office could not have been the real target, Liddysaid.

Liddy has previously testified in tax court about payments hereceived from Nixons re-election committee in connection with thebreak-in, but it is the first time Liddy has testified to theparticulars of the burglary that ultimately led to Nixonsresignation in 1974.