The Official Website of Geoffrey C. Shepard, Esq. 

Contains Biography, Essays, Articles, Reviews, Interviews, plus Multimedia.

Watergate Essays


Over the years, Shepard has authored a number of essays on Watergate-related subjects, including:

  • August, 2014: The Day the Presidency Died

This is an 800 word condensation of a longer article, expanding upon John Dean’s public acknowledgement that the smoking gun tape has been totally misunderstood from the outset and that, had its real context been known, it should not have triggered Nixon’s resignation. Smoking Gun Summarized

  • August, 2014: Understanding the Smoking Gun

This is a 27 page essay that explores the smoking gun tape of June 23, 1972, how it was totally misunderstood by Nixon’s lawyers, and its full background. Smoking Gun Explored

  • July, 2014: Thoughts and Commentary on Dean’s New Book

This is a 27 page analysis of John Dean’s 750 page book, The Nixon Defense, What He Knew and When He Knew It. It details the errors, admissions against interest, and surprising admissions that are contained in Dean’s supposed new transcriptions of the White House tapes. This essay also appears as Appendix 5 of Roger Stone’s Nixon’s Secrets (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014). Dean’s New Book

  • August, 2013: Leon Jaworski’s Telltale Memos

This essay, appearing in The Atlantic on the anniversary of President Nixon’s resignation, analyzes papers recently uncovered at the National Archives. They document a series of ex parte meetings between Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski and Watergate Trial Judge Sirica. Jaworski’s Telltale Memos

  • June, 2012: Watergate versus the 5th Amendment

This is an essay that appeared in Constitution Daily, which is maintained by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. It describes how the 5th Amendment’s guarantee of due process was overwhelmed by politics in the trials of the Watergate defendants: Watergate versus the Fifth Ammendment

  • June, 2012: Watergate Myths

This essay, appearing in Politico on the fortieth anniversary of the Watergate break—in, explains why three primary beliefs about Watergate are really myths: Exposing myths about Watergate

  • May, 2012: Z-gate and the Sanctity of the Grand Jury

This essay, carried on Real Clear Politics, was triggered by the disclosure on April 29, 2012, in an article by Jeff Himmelman in New York Magazine [The Red Flag in the Flower Pot] that Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein had, in fact, interviewed a grand juror—something he had denied for the previous four decades. The essay discusses the importance of grand jury secrecy—and raises the issue of whether the interview(s) might not have constituted jury tampering: Z–Gate and the Sanctity of the Grand Jury

  • December, 2011: Four Key Cover-up Conversations

The White House tapes are something like the Bible, if you will forgive the analogy: by focusing on any one segment, one can “prove” almost anything. But thoughts expressed in private are materially different from actions actually taken. In that vein, this essay examines four conversations that occurred during the week of March 19, 1973—the week that the cover-up collapsed—in an attempt to show that President Nixon (i) did not know what had been done up to that point and (ii) when first informed of some of the more seamy aspects of their situation, called for decisive action to address it: Four Key Cover-up Conversations

  • June, 2011 Critique of the Nixon Library’s Watergate Exhibit

The completely re—done Watergate Exhibit was opened at the Nixon Library on April 1, 2011. This is Shepard’s critique of the substantive aspects—and omissions—of that exhibit: Critique of Watergate Exhibit

  • June, 2009: Essay on John Dean

John Dean’s 1976 book, Blind Ambition, was re-issued in paperback by his agent as a part of the launch of a speaking tour. His invitation to speak at the Richard Nixon Library sparked a good deal of controversy—which led Shepard to author his essay: Essay on John Dean

  • February, 2009: Baby Boomer Cultural Wars

In response to a question posed by one of the readers of his Frost/Nixon essay, inquiring as to why Richard Nixon evoked such controversy—not only throughout his public life, but over a decade following his death.

This essay is Shepard’s response: Baby Boomer Cultural Wars

  • January, 2009: Frost/Nixon (Stage Play and Movie)

David Frost’s 1976 interviews with former President Richard Nixon were carried on the British Broadcast Corporation’s station (BBC) in May of that year. A DVD of the Watergate portion of those interviews is available for sale at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.

Over thirty years later, renowned playwright Peter Morgan (who also authored The Queen in 2008), authored a London stage play about those interviews. The play eventually came to Broadway, but the movie rights were soon purchased by Ron Howard, who postponed further productions of the play until the movie had been released in December of 2009.

While most entertaining, Shepard was deeply troubled by the factual alterations and poetic license which differed markedly from what had actually transpired.

These are the essays he authored on each—since the movie took even more liberties with the truth than did the play itself.