- Ehrlichman, John Daniel
▪ 2000American lawyer and political figure (b. March 20, 1925, Tacoma, Wash.—d. Feb. 14, 1999, Atlanta, Ga.), gained prominence when, as domestic affairs adviser for Pres. Richard M. Nixon, he was a central participant in the Watergate scandal. He was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury and spent 18 months in prison. After graduating (1948) from the University of California, Los Angeles, and earning (1951) a law degree at Stanford University, Ehrlichman worked at a Los Angeles law firm and then started a law firm in Seattle, Wash., with some associates. He worked on two unsuccessful Nixon campaigns—the 1960 presidential and 1962 California gubernatorial races—and was a strategist in the successful 1968 presidential campaign, and in 1969 he went to the White House, first as counsel and then as domestic affairs adviser. Along with H.R. Haldeman, Ehrlichman became ensconced as one of Nixon's top advisers; the two became known as the “Berlin Wall” because they so successfully shielded the president from unwelcome intrusion. Ehrlichman also formed a group known as the “plumbers,” charged with the task of plugging information leaks and obtaining political intelligence. When the plumbers were caught in a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, the White House immediately engaged in a cover-up. The scandal that ensued when the involvement of Nixon and a number of his aides was uncovered eventually led to the resignation from government of several officials, including Ehrlichman and Haldeman (1973), Nixon's resignation from the presidency (1974), and the conviction (1975) and imprisonment of Ehrlichman and others. Ehrlichman was also convicted on charges stemming from another break-in. Upon his release (1978), Ehrlichman, having been permanently disbarred, moved to Santa Fe, N.M., to write and lecture. Among his books were the novel The Company (1976) and the memoir Witness to Power: The Nixon Years (1982). Ehrlichman later served as an executive of an Atlanta, Ga., hazardous-waste firm.
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