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For week ended August 15, 1999 Posted 29 Aug 1999

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Lawyers Reflect On Their Roles In Watergate

Summarized by Eileen Bell

Lawyers Reflect On Their Roles In Watergate
Salt Lake Tribune 15Aug99 L5
By Carol Van Wagoner: Salt Lake Tribune

This article looks at two LDS lawyers, who were players in the Watergate proceedings 25 years ago. Todd Christofferson and Lynn Wardle were both returned missionaries from Utah, who had graduated from BYU and then Duke University Law School. Brother Christofferson began working for Judge John J. Sirica in 1972, Brother Wardle was hired two years later.

Judge Sirica was over the Watergate trials, and used both lawyers as clerks through his investigations. Brother Wardle remembers, "He told me I was to keep no diary, no journal and not to talk about any proceedings with my wife." As he learned of the federal grand jury indictments against top White House personnel, "That just blew me away. I couldn't believe it. It felt like a brick wall was falling over. I realized I was in over my head."

Brother Christofferson realizes he had a rare experience working with the judge. Once while driving with Sirica, "He was reflecting on what had happened and what the case had become and said, `I hope you appreciate this -- not many law clerks get an experience like this.' He paused for a moment and said, `I guess not many judges do, either.' "

After Watergate, when the movie "All The President's Men" was being filmed, one of the most famous actors in the western world came to meet the judge. Brother Christofferson remembers that when the actor left, Judge Sirica asked, " `Who's Robert Redford?' "

Following his time in Washington, Brother Christofferson worked as general counsel for bank in Tennessee, then went home to Utah as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brother Wardle has taught law at BYU for the past 21 years. He is known for his support for Eagle Forum, and his roles in Utah politics.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information