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US government releases once-secret Watergate files

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Saturday, December 1, 2012 - 7:11 am

WASHINGTON — The National Archives is publishing for the first time more than 850 pages of once-secret documents from the Watergate political scandal, including privileged legal conversations and prison evaluations of some Watergate burglars. A judge decided earlier this month to unseal the material.

The files released Friday do not appear to provide any significant new revelations, but they provide context by revealing behind-the-scenes deliberations by the judge in charge of the case, U.S. District Court Judge John J. Sirica, along with prosecutors and defense lawyers. The files showed the judge at times discussing the case with special prosecutors and justifying his attempts to learn new facts in the case.

A federal judge unsealed the material earlier this month at the request of a Texas college history professor.