…and pleas nolo-contendre to tax evasion charges in Federal Court. Not exactly a proud moment in the history of the United States. Agnew had been Nixon’s Vice President for both elections, but on October 10th, 1973 his shady dealings finally caught up with him. He had been under suspicion for a number of corruption related crimes, and the tax evasion charge was part of a no jail time plea bargain.
The corruption went back to the early 1960’s when Agnew was the County Executive of Baltimore County. He had been receiving payments related to construction contracts that he had approved for street paving and other jobs. It was initially believed that the acts were outside of the statue of limitations. However federal investigators discovered that some of the payments continued while he was Governor of Maryland and even into his time as Vice President of the United States. Agnew began grasping as straws to avoid prosecution and hold on to his position. He claimed Vice Presidents could not be prosecuted while in office. He professed his innocence as the walls were closing in.
After his nono-contendre plea, Agnew was fined $10,000 and placed on three years unsupervised probation. He resigned his office and returned to his home in Ocean City, Maryland. He was quickly disbarred and could no longer practice law. Deeply in debt, Agnew had to take a $200,000 loan from his friend (and friend of the mafia), Frank Sinatra.
Photo curtesy of wikipedia