William Saxbe, Attorney General During Watergate Inquiry, Dies at 94

William B. Saxbe, a former United States senator from Ohio who was appointed as President Richard M. Nixon’s fourth attorney general after the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre,” died Tuesday at his home in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. He was 94 and had been in failing health for some time, said his son Charles R. Saxbe.

Mr. Saxbe was an unlikely pick for attorney general, a one-term Republican senator who had frequently criticized President Nixon, at one time saying that the president had “lost his senses” with his decision to bomb North Vietnamese cities. But Mr. Saxbe, after a fairly quick confirmation, would go on to handle the delicate Watergate controversy that led to Mr. Nixon’s resignation and oversee an important antitrust suit that ultimately broke the Bell System telephone monopoly.

Mr. Saxbe took over as attorney general in early January 1974, when the Nixon administration was consumed by crisis. President Nixon’s first attorney general, John N. Mitchell, was accused and later convicted of crimes related to Watergate. His second, Richard G. Kleindienst, resigned and later pleaded guilty in a peripheral matter. The third, Elliot L. Richardson, resigned from office on that fateful Saturday night, Oct. 20, 1973, when he refused to follow President Nixon’s order to fire the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, who had just subpoenaed the president, seeking taped conversations....

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