The news that U.S. Vice-President Spiro Agnew had resigned office in the wake of corruption?
The news that U.S. Vice-President Spiro Agnew had resigned office in the wake of corruption and tax evasion charges, on Wednesday (10 October) was greeted with surprise in Washington. Mr Agnew had been conducting a spirited defence against the allegations and only a few day s earlier had said he would not step down even if indicted.
But on Wednesday he told a Federal Court in Baltimore that he would resign and plead "no contest" to a tax evasion charge because he believed this course to be in the public interest. The Justice Department dropped all other charges against him and Judge Walter Hoffman sentenced him to three years unsupervised probation and a $10,000 (about GBP 4,000 sterling) fins. The Judge said he would have sent him to jail, but for a plea for clemency by Attorney-General Elliot Richardson. Outside the court building, Mr Agnew said he felt that a protracted curt case would have been contrary to the national interest.
In Washington, Senators and Congressmen were taken by surprise at the move. Until President Nixon chooses a successor to Mr Agnew the man next in line to the Presidency of the United States is a Democrat, Mr Carl Albert from Oklahoma, who, as Speaker of the House of Representatives is third in line to the White House. Shortly after Mr Agnew's resignation, Mr Albert made this statement to a press conference:
Other reactions came from Democratic leader Senator Mike Mansfield and prominent Republican Senators Mark Hatfield and Charles Percy: