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Watergate Secrets and Betrayals Trailer Previews Richard Nixon Documentary

Watergate Secrets and Betrayals Trailer Previews Richard Nixon Documentary

ComingSoon has released the official trailer for Watergate’s Secrets and Betrayals, a new documentary that looks at how the political scandal was prosecuted. It will be released on August 8, 2024, on the 50th anniversary of disgraced U.S. President Richard Nixon’s announcement that he was resigning from office.

Narrated by John O’Hurley (Seinfeld) and based on the investigations of former White House counsel Geoff Shepard, this documentary seeks to uncover new information about the Watergate case and “the political corruption that led to Nixon’s downfall.” Featuring never-before-seen documents and exclusive interviews with judges Andrew Napolitano, Laurence Silberman, Paul Diamond and law professor Stephen Saltzburg.

“Written and directed by George Bugatti, Watergate Secrets and Betrayals features incisive analysis from respected judges and law professors. The film meticulously connects the dots between the three branches of government and the scandal that rocked the nation,” the synopsis reads. “Audiences are taken through a maze of political intrigue and corruption, with archival footage, expert interviews, and dramatic film noir reconstructions seamlessly blended to deliver a chilling insight into the legacy of the 37th president.”

Watch the trailer for Watergate Secrets and Betrayals below:

Tyler Treese: What led to the making of Watergate Secrets and Betrayals?

Manager George Bugatti: I read a book called The Real Watergate Scandal by Geoff Shepard in 2016. When I read it, it was a complete revelation. It was so interesting. I’ve had a lifelong interest in American presidents, and Richard Nixon in particular. So this was right up my alley. When I traveled around the country, I would go to a bookstore and find a book about Watergate, Richard Nixon, or American presidents.

That really hit a nerve with me because what Geoff Shepard had discovered was documents in our national archives and other places that showed really interesting things that, if true, could upset the traditional narrative. I reached out to him. It was a play at first. I had an idea for a play and we performed it in New York for six weeks and it became a documentary. So that was the seed that was planted then in 2021 and that’s what led to the documentary today.

From what I see in the document, you show the defense team and the other side. Usually, when we look back, we look at the prosecution and what was successful. So what was the most interesting thing about getting that alternative perspective?

Well, the truth of all this. We were given a narrative. I mean, if you’re a history student (including me), you believe it. It’s part of your cultural awareness and your historical awareness. It was the exact opposite of the traditional narrative. So, the interesting part for me was finding out that this was not an opinion. I mean, black and white. People, prosecutors, judges, congressional staff. They left a documentary trail that showed something else.

To me, if I could be a part of it, just to bring it to light by telling this story… It still resonates with me. I’m still in awe of the story. It’s not my story. I’m lucky enough to work with a team of people who helped bring this story to light.

Who were the important people you interviewed for the documentary?

Well, first and foremost, of course, is Geoff Shepard, who’s the author of three books on this subject. So I get to work with him. He’s my collaborator. But some great historical figures. Dwight Chapin, who was the President’s man for many years. He worked with President Nixon in the White House. Bob Bostock, who was a historian but also the curator of the original Nixon Librarian Museum.

I also met with another great historical figure, Deputy General Counsel Rufus Edmisten, who was second in command of the Sam Ervin committee, the Watergate committee that held the hearings. I was invited on the 50th anniversary of those hearings. And that was interesting to me, and it was a great pleasure to interview him because he was part of everything. He was influential, and he had a very deep knowledge of what he saw and how he approached the process. He was a very honorable man, Rufus Edmisten.

I’ve talked to other people around. I’ve had comments from regular people that I’ve talked to. It’s interesting to get their perspectives and insights, side by side with people who are actually in the arena, sitting in the armchair.

Did doing all this research for this project make you reevaluate your perspective on Richard Nixon? He was always a very interesting figure, and a lot of his legacy was obviously obscured by Watergate.

Yes. His accomplishments speak for themselves. A, I don’t want to say a fan, but admiring him… growing up or being interested in him. You can’t separate the truth from the fiction or, yes, what’s a lie or what’s a truth. But just the way it’s presented has always been fascinating to me. There are many layers to the onion. There’s more when you peel it back and there’s more when you peel it back and the scandal itself, there’s many facets to it, many paths to it.

I think the biggest attraction for me was how complex we are. I mean, we’re all complex, right? Especially those in power and those dynamics. The mentality of running the world has always fascinated me, for any president or anyone in power. But his accomplishments, I think you can’t hide them. So I’ve always enjoyed or been fascinated by the yin and yang of what’s presented, which of course I accepted as fact at some point. And there may be a lot of truth in those stories about his personality. I didn’t involve myself in that and I don’t really care. I mean, it’s nice to have a nice armchair read and open something up or read about his personal life, but it was this new information that really got to me.

Not that you can’t explain everything in the answer, but what can viewers expect from the documentary? What should the expectations be for it?

They should be prepared to watch with an open mind. They will receive information that goes against the traditional narrative. What I present is not my opinion. As they say, everything we put on celluloid is supported by documentation. It has no political leaning, although some might say it is because of the information we present.

God forbid anyone says, “Hey, wait a minute, Nixon’s not such a bad guy.” But still, it wasn’t my interest to present him as a good guy or a bad guy. It was to present the process that he went through, and they had to expect to see prosecutorial and judicial abuse. They had to be prepared to see someone’s rights trampled on. They had to be prepared to see us lied to.

Again, it can be hard to digest because… There’s a great quote by Carl Sagan, and I don’t have it in front of me so I can’t quote it word for word, but to paraphrase it, “Once we’ve been told a story, it’s very hard to believe anything else because we can’t admit to ourselves that we’ve been fooled,” and we’ve been fooled. And the public will go along with it, and we’ve been fooled, and they need to question it.

It’s good to question and not accept what’s given to us, and many of us, most of us do that. But I think that’s the lesson. What if this really happened? And then maybe they’ll look into it a little bit more and read it online. The documentation will be available. online After the movie is released, they can watch it themselves and read what you discovered.

Naturally, there’s going to be some pushback. How has he experienced that so far? Are you prepared for people to be skeptical? Are people always skeptical when you present something that goes against the prevailing perception of Watergate?

That’s a good question. It’s a valid point. That’s what we’re going to be up against. I’m sure there’s going to be a firestorm starting with Geoff’s interview. He did one the other day, probably with this interview. Of course, when the movie comes out. I hope people are open-minded enough and not so stuck in their own personal opinions that they can’t look at the information that we’re giving them objectively and accept it with an open mind.

We may not be able to change a lot of people’s minds. The big hope is that this will be in the history books and that younger historians and people who are growing up in the legal world and the media will look at this and carry this torch forward. So that a new generation of people will say, “Aha. Something was happening.” So that when we’re all gone, the history books will reflect something different. It will be the final chapter of a story that was told wrong.

John O’Hurley came on board. He’s the host of the documentary. What was it like to bring him on board?

Oh, John is great. I’ve known him for probably 30, 35 years. When this happened, he was the first person that came to mind and I called him and he was so nice and gracious to say, “Sure, I’ll give it a shot.” I don’t think anyone could have done it better. I told him what the pieces of this puzzle were and he was intrigued. He brings a lot of credibility to it because of his approach and his demeanor as an artist and the way he presents what we write. We’re so lucky to have him. Hopefully, he’ll open us up to a wider audience than we ever expected. He really brings a great vibe.