Watergate files uncovered in Nashville law office after 40 years

James Neal, right, in 1974 with Richard Ben-Veniste and Jill Volner, fellow Watergate prosecutors. (Charles Bennett/AP Photo)
James Neal, right, in 1974 with Richard Ben-Veniste and Jill Volner, fellow Watergate prosecutors. (Charles Bennett/AP Photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Law offices often have classified files and documents, but it’s rare when they compare to what was recently found inside a Nashville firm.

The discovery is decades old, and it’s centered around Watergate and the trial’s connection to our city.

Nashville attorney James Neal litigated during the historical political scandal, delivering what some call one of the finest closing arguments in the history of trial law.

Aubrey Harwell (Photo: WKRN)
Aubrey Harwell (Photo: WKRN)

“I thought it was powerful,” his law partner Aubrey Harwell told News 2.

“We have gone through files 20, 25, 30, 35 years old,” he said.

Harwell found the files of his deceased colleague and mentor while sifting through boxes to ready the Neal and Harwell firm for relocation.

Aubrey Harwell (Photo: WKRN)
Aubrey Harwell (Photo: WKRN)

He recalled a time in the spring of ’73 when Watergate ruled the headlines. Neal was recruited by the United States Solicitor General to prosecute President Richard Nixon and his top aides.

“It was obvious Nixon was a man of flawed character,” Harwell said. “Nixon decided he was going to tape conversation in the oval office.

Neal was said to have mesmerized courtrooms with his words. His arguments sealed convictions of the US Attorney General and two of Nixon’s closest advisors.

The era was unlike any other, and so were the words, thousands of them, brought to life by Jim Neal and born again today.