John Wesley Dean III was born on October 14, 1938 in Akron, Ohio. After graduating from the Staunton Military Academy in Virginia,
he went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree at The College of Wooster in Ohio in 1961. He then attended Georgetown University
Law Center and received his Juris Doctor in 1965. During his time in law school, Dean worked as a law clerk in the firm of
Hollabaugh & Jacobs in Washington, D.C. He obtained a junior associate position at the Washington law firm of Welch & Morgan
upon his graduation from Georgetown.
During the period 1966-67, Dean served as chief minority council for the Judiciary Committee in the United States House of
Representatives. He then spent the next two years as Associate Director of the National Commission on Reform of Federal Criminal
Laws before working as an Associate Deputy Attorney, General Office of Criminal Justice, Department of Justice, between 1969
On July 9, 1970, Dean became Counsel to President Richard Nixon. The position became available after Dean’s predecessor, John
Ehrlichman, left to become Nixon’s chief domestic adviser. Dean was eventually implicated in the Watergate scandal and began
cooperating with federal investigators in March of 1973 while continuing to work as counsel to the President until he was
fired by Nixon on April 30, 1973.
Dean testified in hearings before the United States Senate’s Select Committee on President Campaign Activities (also known
as the Senate Watergate Committee) during the period of June 25-29, 1973. On October 19, 1973, John Dean pleaded guilty to
a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice. He was given a sentence of 1 to 4 years (U.S. v. John W. Dean, USDC 886-73) by
Judge John Sirica on August 2, 1974.
He began his sentence under the supervision of the United States Marshalls at Fort Holabird, Maryland from September 3, 1974.
During part of his time in custody, October 16-25, 1974, Dean testified in the Watergate cover-up trial, United States v.
John N. Mitchell, et al. For his cooperation, Dean’s sentence was reduced to time served and he was released after four months
on January 8, 1975.
Barred from practicing law due to his conspiracy conviction, Dean worked as an investment banker, lecturer and author. He
began writing for Rolling Stone magazine in 1976. His memoir Blind Ambition was published the same year. His next memoir,
Lost Honor, was published in 1982. Between 2001 and 2007, he authored The Rehnquist Choice (2001), Worse than Watergate (2004),
Conservatives Without Conscience (2006), and Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and
Judicial Branches (2007). In addition, Dean has contributed to the online legal magazines Writ and Verdict, co-edited Pure
Goldwater (2009) and made guest appearances on news and politically-oriented television programs.
On March 31, 2006, Dean testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the President George W. Bush censure hearings related
to NSA wiretaps performed without warrants. In 2003, Dean became a visiting scholar and lecturer at the University of Southern
California’s Annenberg School of Communication. As of 2012, he is involved in the Watergate CLE (continuing legal education)
– an extended legal education series that examines how the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Most government records are in the public domain, however, this series includes commercial materials, such as newspaper clippings,
that may be subject to copyright restrictions. Researchers should contact the copyright holder for information.