Leonard Garment was born on 11th May, 1924. His father came from Lithuania, and owned a dress factory; his mother came from Poland. Garment worked as a jazz saxophonist with Billie Holiday and Woody Herman before attending Brooklyn Law School where he edited the Brooklyn Law Review.
Garment began his law career in 1949 by joining Mudge, Stern, Baldwin & Todd. He was chief of the firm's trial department and helped tutor Richard Nixon in appellate argument. The company later became Nixon, Mudge, Guthrie, Rose & Alexander.
In 1968 Garment helped to organize Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign. Nixon picked Spiro T. Agnew as his running mate. Nixon won and in his inaugural address on 20th January, 1969, he promised to bring the nation together again. Garment was appointed as special consultant to the president on domestic policy. After John Dean was forced to resign over the Watergate Scandal, Garment became Counsel to the President.
On 18th May, 1973, Attorney General Elliot Richardson appointed Archibald Cox as special prosecutor, with unprecedented authority and independence to investigate the alleged Watergate cover-up and illegal activity in the 1972 presidential campaign. The following month Dean testified that at a meeting with Nixon on 15th April, the president had remarked that he had probably been foolish to have discussed his attempts to get clemency for E. Howard Hunt with Charles Colson. Dean concluded from this that Nixon's office might be bugged.
On Friday, 13th July, Alexander P. Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked about if he knew whether Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. Butterfield reluctantly admitted details of the tape system which monitored Nixon's conversations. Butterfield also said that he knew "it was probably the one thing that the President would not want revealed". This information did indeed interest Archibald Cox and he demanded that Richard Nixon hand over the White House tapes. Nixon refused and so Cox appealed to the Supreme Court.
On 20th October, 1973, Nixon ordered his Attorney-General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Archibald Cox. Richardson refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then ordered the deputy Attorney-General, William Ruckelshaus, to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused and he was sacked. Eventually, Robert Bork, the Solicitor-General, fired Cox.
An estimated 450,000 telegrams went sent to Richard Nixon protesting against his decision to remove Cox. The heads of 17 law colleges now called for Nixon's impeachment. Nixon was unable to resist the pressure and on 23rd October he agreed to comply with the subpoena and began releasing some of the tapes. The following month a gap of over 18 minutes was discovered on the tape of the conversation between Nixon and H. R. Haldemanon June 20, 1972. Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, denied deliberately erasing the tape. It was now clear that Nixon had been involved in the cover-up and members of the Senate began to call for his impeachment.
Peter Rodino, who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, presided over the impeachment proceedings against Nixon. The hearings opened in May 1974. The committee had to vote on five articles of impeachment and it was thought that members would split on party lines. However, on the three main charges - obstructing justice, abuse of power and withholding evidence, the majority of Republicans voted with the Democrats.
According to Godfrey Hodgson: "Garment did not turn on Nixon. He remained loyal for as long as he could in the unravelling of the Watergate drama. It was he who advised Nixon that it would constitute obstruction of justice to destroy incriminating White House tape recordings, as Nixon had threatened to do. In the end, after Nixon suggested faking a tape to cover the missing 18 minutes that had been erased from a crucial tape, Garment joined the group of advisers who travelled to Key Biscayne, Florida, to tell Nixon that, in effect, the game was up."
When three senior Republican congressmen, Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott, John Rhodes visited Richard Nixon to tell him that they were going to vote for his impeachment. Nixon, convinced that he will lose the vote, decided to resign as president of the United States.
Garment remained in the White House as President Gerald Ford appointed him as his assistant. He was later appointed as the U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (1974-77).
In 2002 Leonard Garment published a book, In Search of Deep Throat where he argued that Deep Throat was fellow presidential lawyer John Sears. This was publicly denied by Carl Bernstein, who, along with Bob Woodward, used Deep Throat as a source.
Leonard Garment died on 13th July 2013.