January 10, 1973 – Mr. Hunt Pleads Guilty
January 10, 1973 – The Watergate bugging case resurfaced this day with a surprise. E. Howard Hunt, former employee of the White House, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, burglary and eavesdropping. The government said it was willing to drop five other charges against Hunt, who was one of the five people Police arrested when in connection with the Watergate break-in in Washington the previous June. Five men were caught with bugging and eavesdropping devices and the case has turned into a political issue.
Hunt left the courthouse after changing his plea to guilty. When asked, he refused comment, but his lawyer said it was because he was having severe family problems since his wife was killed in an air crash a month earlier, leaving Hunt with four children at home, the youngest being 9. Hunt sat quietly in the courtroom while his attorney agreed to a guilty plea in exchange for dropping some charges. Hunt, a career CIA employee faced some 25 years in prison. Judge John Sirica could delay in accepting the plea agreement until the following day, warning that it was his policy to sentence even white-collar criminals to prison if Hunt wanted to reconsider. Testimony started earlier in the day where it was revealed Hunt hired a Brigham Young University student to spy inside Muskie headquarters and later, McGovern headquarters. Former White House Aide G. Gordon Liddy was identified as the boss of the overall operation to which the Prosecutors said The Committee To Re-Elect The President had set aside a quarter-million dollars in cash. Prosecutors said the Committee thought the money was being used to investigate extremist threats to the Republican campaign. Defense said the facts weren’t in dispute, only intentions. And the show was only beginning.
And that’s just a small slice of news in an otherwise very busy day, as reported by NBC News for January 10, 1973.