Watergate Scandal Law and Legal Definition
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal in the United States in the 1970s. It forever tarnished the United States presidency and reputation of Richard Nixon. The scandal resulted from the break-in of five men into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. Effects of the scandal ultimately led to the resignation of the United States President Richard Nixon on August 9, 1974. It also resulted in the indictment and conviction of several Nixon administration officials.
The Watergate scandal revealed countless abuses of power by Nixon and his staff as well as the existence of a "dirty tricks squad" that was responsible for political sabotage, the creation of a campaign slush fund associated with Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President (CPR), and the attempted cover-up of the Watergate scandal itself.
During the Congressional investigation of the White House's role in the scandal, it came to light that there was a listening devise in place that recorded everything in the Oval Office on tape. These tapes became central to the investigation of Nixon's knowledge of and potential involvement in the Watergate scandal.
Facing near-certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and a strong possibility of a conviction in the Senate, Nixon resigned the office of the presidency on August 9, 1974. His successor, Gerald Ford, issued a pardon to President Nixon after his resignation.