Saturday, May 20, 2006

Martin Dardis, Watergate Investigator who followed the money that linked the Watergate burglars to Nixon, Dies

The New York Times
Martin Dardis, 83, Watergate Investigator, Dies

PALM CITY, Fla., May 19 (AP) — Martin F. Dardis, chief investigator for the Dade County state attorney, who linked the Watergate burglars to President Richard M. Nixon, died here on Tuesday. He was 83.

The cause was vascular disease, said his daughter, Erin Dardis.

Mr. Dardis traced money found on the Watergate burglars to the Committee to Re-Elect the President. That discovery led to the uncovering of further misdeeds, which eventually forced Nixon to resign.

In 1972, Mr. Dardis was tipped off to a Miami bank's cash connection with the Watergate burglars and subpoenaed its records. He learned that one burglar, Bernard L. Barker, had worked with the Central Intelligence Agency during the Bay of Pigs and held an account with a recently deposited $25,000 check from a major Republican fund-raiser.

Bob Woodward, who reported on Watergate for The Washington Post, has called that check the "connective tissue" that linked the burglars to Nixon's re-election campaign.

Mr. Dardis later said he was misrepresented in Carl Bernstein's and Mr. Woodward's book and subsequent movie, "All The President's Men," in which he was portrayed by Ned Beatty. Mr. Dardis told The Miami Herald last year that the movie had made him seem like a shabbily dressed "buffoon."

Mr. Dardis, a high school dropout who lied about his age to join the Army at 16, was awarded a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and Silver Stars for gallantry after rescuing an American pilot in World War II.