Watergate mastermind G Gordon Liddy dies

G Gordon Liddy kneels next to his Corvette in this 1997 photo
G Gordon Liddy kneels next to his Corvette in this 1997 photo (AP)
5:30am, Wed 31 Mar 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

G Gordon Liddy a mastermind of the Watergate burglary and a radio talk show host after emerging from prison, died on Tuesday in Virginia. He was 90.

His son Thomas Liddy confirmed the death but did not reveal the cause, other than to say it was not Covid-related.

Mr Liddy, a former FBI agent and Army veteran, was convicted of conspiracy, burglary and illegal wiretapping for his role in the Watergate burglary, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

He spent four years and four months in prison, including more than 100 days in solitary confinement.

“I’d do it again for my president,” he said years later.

Obit Liddy (AP)

Mr Liddy was outspoken and controversial as a political operative under Mr Nixon. He recommended assassinating political enemies, bombing a left-leaning think tank and kidnapping war protesters. His White House colleagues ignored such suggestions.

One of his ventures — the break-in at Democratic headquarters at the Watergate building in June 1972 — was approved. The burglary went awry, which led to an investigation, a cover-up and Mr Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

Mr Liddy also was convicted of conspiracy in the September 1971 burglary of the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the defence analyst who leaked the secret history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers.

After his release from prison, Mr Liddy became a popular, provocative and controversial radio talk show host. He also worked as a security consultant, writer and actor. His appearance — piercing dark eyes, bushy moustache and shaved head — made him a recognisable TV guest and spokesman for products.

On air, he offered tips on how to kill federal firearms agents, rode around with car tags saying “H20GATE” (Watergate) and scorned people who cooperated with prosecutors.

Sign up to our newsletter