A lawyer in North Carolina served as the Assistant Majority Counsel on the Watergate Committee. Eugene Boyce was a trial attorney in Raleigh. He spoke to Frank Stasio on the State of Things to look back on the role he played on the historic investigation of President Richard Nixon.
How did the Raleigh lawyer make it to D.C?
“It is an amazing story of circumstances that invaded my life that started right here, in Raleigh in June 1972,” said Boyce.
Boyce had served as the campaign manager for former North Carolina Representative Ike Andrews. After helping Andrews secure a seat in Congress, Boyce headed to Washington to help Andrews set up a staff.
In Washington, Boyce met Senator Sam Ervin (D-North Carolina), the Chairman of the Watergate Committee. Senator Ervin needed Boyce’s skills.
“[The Watergate Committee was] having problems that related to trial-type work. And the lawyers that they had already hired had not had trial experience, and that’s all I’ve ever done before and since,” Boyce said.
How did Boyce realize the gravity of Watergate?
He looked back on his job interview for the Watergate Committee. Chief Counsel Samuel Dash suggested that the President was implicated in the investigation.
“I remember very well [Dash’s] question at the luncheon was, ‘Gene, would you have any problem if our investigation goes all the way to the top?’” Boyce said. “That gave me the hint that they knew more than what was being published at the time”.
The Watergate Committee used President Nixon’s taped conversations to demonstrate that the President was aware of the cover-up of the burglary at the Democratic National Committee.
“The tapes, if you have ever heard or read the transcripts of it, [are] extremely revealing. It’s more of a disclosure of them covering up what the truth was about the break-in,” Boyce explains.
According to Boyce, without the tapes, the Watergate Committee would not have had sufficient evidence to incriminate Nixon.