A Government Misstep
After months of trial proceedings, on April 26, 1973, Government prosecutors disclosed to Judge Byrne that two men, G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, burglarized Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office in Los Angeles on September 3, 1971. This was done in an effort to find “dirt” on Ellsberg to smear his reputation. The Ellsberg-Russo defense team would also find that John D. Ehrlichman, the Assistant to the President’s Domestic Affairs, had met with Judge Byrne on two separate occasions and offered to make Byrne the director of the F.B.I. The combination of these events led to Judge Byrne inevitably dismissing all charges against Ellsberg and Russo on May 11, 1973.
Nixon and Watergate
The two men who broke into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office were also involved in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters on June 17, 1972. Hunt and Liddy were part of a group of men known as “The Plumbers” since they were made to stop anything deemed a security leak. This event, known as the Watergate Scandal, connected the burglars to President Richard Nixon and eventually led to Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974.