NEW YORK — Leonard Garment, a lawyer who was a friend and adviser to President Richard Nixon as the Watergate scandal unfolded and who urged him not to destroy tapes of his conversations, has died at age 89.
Garment, who had been ill, died Saturday at his Manhattan home, his wife, Suzanne Garment, said Monday.
Garment and Nixon met when Nixon joined the law firm where Garment was a partner in 1963. The two men became close, and Garment went to work in the Nixon White House.
As Watergate unfolded, Garment encouraged Nixon not to destroy tapes of his conversations that came from a recording system Nixon had installed in the White House. The conversations involved Nixon and various officials and staff members in the White House.
When the Watergate scandal broke and the system came to light, prosecutors demanded the tapes to know what Nixon had said. The tapes played a major role in the erosion of Nixon’s public support and led to his resignation.
Garment left the White House in 1973 and became a high-profile Washington lawyer. His clients included televangelist Oral Roberts and financier Marc Rich.