Nixon Plumber and His Prosecutor, Together Again
It was a chance meeting on a downtown street, but it gave Washington super lawyer and new author Richard Ben-Veniste an opportunity to create some buzz at his book party last night.
Ben-Veniste bumped into Egil "Bud" Krogh, whom he hadn't seen in 36 years since he prosecuted him during Watergate for Krogh's role as head of the White House Plumber's Unit, and did the unthinkable: he invited him to his book party, to be held just a few hours later.
The Watergate conspirator actually showed up. The party was held at the stunning Northwest Washington home of Gerry and Ellen Sigal (of Sigal Construction), where Ben-Veniste read extensively from his book, "The Emperor's New Clothes: Exposing the Truth From Watergate to 9/11."
The author doesn't mention Krogh by name in his book, the first chapter of which is dedicated to the Watergate scandal. But Ben-Veniste did mention during his lengthy reading last night that "someone" he prosecuted during Watergate was in the audience.
Since he wasn't identified and few would have recognized him, Krogh wasn't cornered by Watergate buffs before he left. And there plenty such buffs at the party, including the legendary Daniel Schorr, who was chief Watergate correspondent for CBS. (Schorr even made President Nixon's infamous enemies list.)
Presumably, though, Krogh would have been happy to hang around and chat about his role in the demise of Richard M. Nixon, since he has been traveling the country giving speeches on the topic in what he calls his "quest for redemption."
Ben-Veniste was tickled that Krogh showed up. "Yeah, he came!" the author said, chuckling, as he signed books.
Ben-Veniste says he didn't recognize Krogh, but the convicted Nixon plumber recognized him. (Who could miss Ben-Veniste's bushy eyebrows, which stayed black long after his hair turned grey?) So he figured why not invite Krogh to his party.
Others who were there last night included: former senators Paul Sarbanes of Maryland and Ted Stevens of Alaska, who may soon be an author himself; Jamie Gorelick, who served on the 9/11 Commission with Ben-Veniste; newly retired newsman Sam Donaldson; the indefatigable Elizabeth Drew; NPR diva Nina Totenberg; Washingtonian media columnist Harry Jaffe (the town villain to Washington Posties); and General Motors' Debbie Dingell, wife of Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who was bemoaning the fate of her beloved GM.
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