Liddy Blasts Former Nixon Counsel

Wednesday, January 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BALTIMORE (AP) — G. Gordon Liddy turned his venom on former Nixon White House counsel John Dean during the final day of testimony in his defamation trial, declaring Dean a ``serial perjurer'' who wasn't worth the bullet that could be used to kill him.

``I despise him,'' Liddy said Tuesday of the man he claims orchestrated the bungled 1972 burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

The Watergate break-in has long been considered underhanded tactics by President Nixon's re-election campaign, but it's Liddy more recent theory that landed him back in court.

Former DNC secretary Ida ``Maxie'' Wells filed a $5.1 million defamation suit against Liddy for publicly claiming the Watergate burglars were searching her desk for photos of Dean's future wife from a package of call-girl photos used to set up liaisons for DNC guests.

Liddy, now a syndicated talk show host, admits he has said the photos were kept in Wells' desk but denies ever calling Wells a prostitute or a madam.

``I have said the pictures were kept in a desk at the DNC and the desk was assigned to Maxie Wells,'' Liddy testified Tuesday. ``If it had been assigned to Joan of Arc, I would have said it was Joan of Arc's desk.''

Liddy said he was told about the photos by Phillip Mackin Bailley, a disbarred attorney and convicted felon with a history of mental illness. Bailley testified last week that he doesn't recall significant events in his own life and said he was on medication for bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia.

Closing arguments in the case were to begin Wednesday.

On the witness stand Tuesday, Liddy, 70, dismissed testimony from Nixon White House figures that contradicted the call-girl theory.

Of Nixon's deputy campaign director Jeb Stuart Magruder's testimony that the Watergate break-in was approved by John Mitchell, the former attorney general who headed the re-election campaign, Liddy said: ``If Mr. Magruder told me it was noon, I would go out and look up at the sky to check.''

Of Dean, who didn't testify, Liddy said: ``Sir, as I have said before and I will repeat until my dying day, the man is a serial perjurer.''

The bad blood between Liddy and Dean has remained strong since the Watergate scandal, when Liddy refused to talk and received the harshest sentence among the conspirators, and Dean cooperated with prosecutors and received just four months.

Asked on cross-examination if he had ever considered killing Dean, Liddy replied: ``The answer is: I wouldn't consider him worth the quarter it would cost to buy the cartridge that would propel the bullet to kill him with.''

John and Maureen Dean have denied Liddy's theory and sued him for libel in 1992. That case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled.

The Deans also sued St. Martin's Press, publisher of ``Silent Coup,'' which mentions the call-girl theory. St. Martin's settled the case for an undisclosed sum.

``It's been extremely hurtful and humiliating to be linked to this imaginary call-girl ring,'' Maureen Dean told The Associated Press on Tuesday in what she described as her first interview on the subject in 10 years. ``I know this entire story is based on Phillip Mackin Bailley, who's been in and out of mental institutions his whole adult life. Liddy knew that and didn't care.

``I know he hates my husband, but I know on some level he's trying to lessen his culpability and stupidity for the Watergate break-in and to get even with my husband for exposing all of the criminal acts in the Nixon White House.''

Asked about Liddy's attacks on him, John Dean told the AP, ``I'd like to testify and I'd love to have the jury see all the evidence that shows the falsity of Gordon Liddy's claim. But this case isn't Liddy vs. John Dean.''

John Dean was originally listed as a potential witness but Wells' attorneys decided not to call him. He said his testimony would have been a distraction.

``Rest assured, I'm not going to let Liddy get away with this,'' he said.

Liddy's testimony was his first about the particulars of the Watergate break-in. He refused to testify during his 1973 trial and was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison. He had served four years and four months when President Carter commuted his sentence.