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John Dean served as former President Richard Nixon’s White House Counsel and is best known for his involvement in the events leading up to the Watergate crimes and the ensuing Watergate scandal. Despite the FBI’s designation of him as the’master manipulator,’ he pleaded guilty and had his prison sentence reduced. Dean took solace in the fact that he possessed a sizable following of admirers who regarded him as courageous and truthful rather than self-serving and disloyal. He is also an author, a frequent columnist, a commentator, a political contemporary, and a staunch Republican supporter. He later wrote several books about the Watergate Scandal and the Nixon White House. Books such as ‘Blind Ambition’ and ‘Worse Than Watergate: George W. Bush’s Secret Presidency’ became highly popular, yet highly contentious, publications, catapulting him into the limelight. During George W. Bush’s presidency, he developed a reputation as an outspoken critic of the President’s administration, for which he was mocked by many. Despite this, he continued to publish books about his presidency and even disclosed sensitive White House information through his works.

Childhood & Adolescence

John Wesley Dean was born in Akron, Ohio, and spent his early years in Marion, Ohio, before moving with his family to Flossmoor, Illinois. After high school, he attended Staunton Military Academy and then Colgate University for his undergraduate studies. He eventually transferred to The College of Wooster in Ohio, where he earned his B.A. in 1961.

He earned his ‘Juris Doctor’ degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1965 and then joined a Washington, D.C. law firm.

Career of John

Dean was hired as the chief minority advisor to Republican members of the ‘United States House Committee on the Judiciary’ from 1966 to 1967. He then worked for two years as an associate director of the National Commission on the Reform of Federal Criminal Laws.

He volunteered to write position papers on crime during President Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign and served as associate deputy in office under Attorney General John N. Mitchell the following year.

Dean’s commitment impressed then-President Richard Nixon, who appointed him as personal counsel and reappointed John Ehrlichman as chief domestic advisor.

Dean and a few other former FBI agents and members of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President presented an unapproved initial plan for intelligence operations during the 1972 campaign. They were instructed to scale back the plan, and spying on the Democratic National Committee was attempted.

The Watergate complex was broken into twice by burglars, both times in 1972. Dean took the evidence and money after the offenders were apprehended and questioned and destroyed some of it before the remainder was discovered by investigators.

The Watergate burglars were sentenced to prison on March 23, 1973, while Dean hired an attorney covertly and continued to serve as Nixon’s White House Counsel. As Nixon was unaware of Dean’s involvement, he had asked him to prepare a report summarizing all evidence discovered and information he possessed regarding the scandal.

However, this was a particularly difficult task for him because he was also a victim of the scandal, albeit in an indirect way. As a result of his inability to complete the report, Nixon fired him on April 30, 1973.

He began his testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee on June 25, 1973, breaking new ground in the investigation and garnering widespread media attention. On October 19, 1973, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one to four years in prison.

His sentence was commuted to four months and he was barred from practicing law. He turned to writing shortly after the scandal and eventually became a part-time investment banker. He wrote about his experiences at the White House in two books, ‘Blind Ambition’ (1976) and ‘Lost Honor’ (1982).

He retired from investment banking in 2000 and published ‘Conservatives Without Conscience’ in 2006, which received favorable reviews from readers in the United States. He published ‘Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches’ the following year.

He appeared on ‘Countdown’ in 2009, where he was accused of leaking new information about the Watergate Scandal and the Nixon tapes.

Major Works of John

‘Worse Than Watergate: George W. Bush’s Secret Presidency’ drew attention to the President’s military and administrative actions during his tenure. Although this book garnered negative attention, critics lauded it as one of the’most audacious publications’ by a former White House official in the last decade.

Personal History and Legacies

He married Karla Ann Hennings on February 4, 1962, and they had a son. They divorced in 1970, and on October 13, 1972, he married Maureen Kane.

Estimated Net Worth

The net worth of John is $10million.


In the 1995 film ‘Nixon,’ actor David Hyde Pierce portrayed this former legal counsel to President Richard Nixon.