The legal documents were made public on Thursday, after a judge ordered the formerly-secret transcript be made available to the public. The document release includes thousands of pages and some sound recordings, as well as 26 folders of grand jury materials.
The grand jury investigation took place in 1975, over an 11-hour, two-day span. Included in the deposition were an attempted explanation for an 18 ½ minute gap in tape recordings Nixon otherwise habitually made in the Oval Office, conspicuously cut out days after the Watergate scandal first broke. The investigation led to no charges after President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor of any past crimes.
Obama Administration Tried to Keep Documents Sealed
The Obama administration tried to keep the documents sealed, arguing too many participants were still alive, but U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the records be revealed.
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Watergate's significance in American history cannot be overstated, Lamberth wrote in his decision, according to The AP. The disclosure of President Nixon's grand jury testimony would likely enhance the existing historical record, foster scholarly discussion and improve the public's understanding of a significant historical event.
An early overview of Nixon's testimony shows a string of I do not recalls peppered the balance of Nixon's testimony. When asked about the 18 ½ missing minutes, Nixon claimed some accident must have occurred; he was stunned when he found out the extent of the damage.
I practically blew my stack, he said.