Watergate Conspirator Jeb Magruder Pleads Guilty Over Crash Charge

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Watergate conspirator Jeb Magruder pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of reckless operation stemming from crashes with two vehicles in July.

Magruder had been charged with failing to maintain proper distance and leaving the scene of an accident. Accident investigators concluded he had had a stroke.

Magruder was fined $300, placed on one year of probation and lost his driver's license for a year. Judge W. Dwayne Maynard of Franklin County Municipal Court suspended a 60-day jail sentence.

Magruder's case was delayed for months while he recovered from injuries. He says he has no recollection of what happened that day.

Witnesses described Magruder speeding and driving erratically before hitting a motorcycle, then speeding from the scene before hitting a box truck about a mile farther down the expressway.

Magruder was Nixon's deputy campaign director, an aide to Nixon's chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, and deputy communications director at the White House. He spent seven months in prison for his role in covering up the 1972 break-in at Washington's Watergate complex.

Last summer's accident came two years after Magruder was stopped in rural Ohio and charged with drunken driving; he later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless operation.