A transcript of former President Richard Nixon’s testimony on the Watergate scandal before a grand jury in 1975 is going to be unsealed thanks to a lawsuit filed by Public Citizen on behalf of an historian.
Over the objection of the government, a federal court granted Public Citizen’s request to unseal the 36-year-old transcript in July. The order became final this week when the Justice Department declined to appeal.
Grand jury records are typically sealed, but the good government group founded by Ralph Nader argued that Nixon’s testimony should be unsealed “because of the extraordinary historical interest in Watergate and Nixon’s legacy, and because the concerns that support secrecy of grand jury records no longer apply to this decades-old material,” according to a press release.
In Nixon’s 11 hours of testimony — taken over the course of two days in June 1975 — the disgraced president answered questions about the 18.5 minute gap in a tape recorded conversation between he and H.R. Halderman. The National Archives and Records Administration are expected to finish processing the transcript for release this fall.
“The release of this testimony is great news for historians and anyone interested in the history of the Nixon administration,” Allison Zieve, director of the Public Citizen Litigation Group, said in a statement. “This key piece of history will be a valuable addition to the historical record.”
Public Citizen posted their petition and the court’s decision here.