The news that U.S. Vice-President Spiro Agnew had resigned office in the wake of corruption?
SV Agnew out of court surrounded by newsmen CU (same shot) Agnew speaks
SV INT. Carl Albert on podium CU (same shot) Albert speaks
CU INT. Senator Mike Mansfield speaks
CU Senator Mark Hatfield speaks
CU Senator Charles Percy speaks
MR AGNEW: "Gentlemen, I believe you have all received copies of the prepared statement that I read in court. as I said in the statement, the reason why I have changed by decision to fight this matter is because I believe it would be against the national interest and would have a (indistinct) effect on my family to go through a long tow-years struggle concerning this matter. You also may be aware of what I said in open court that I categorically and flatly deny the assertions that have been made by the prosecutors with regards their contention of bribery and extortion on my part. You might also be aware that, irrespective of the statements that were made by the Attorney-General in open court, the principal witnesses of the Government are not being fully prosecuted in this matter but are receiving either full or limited forms of immunity in exchange for their testimony against me. I will have nothing more to say at this point: I will make an address to the nation within a few days."
MR ALBERT: "I learned of the Vice-President's resignation today with surprise and shock. the Vice-President advised me of his action by letter. Under the Constitution, the matter is now in the hands of the President and I have no further comment."
SENATOR MANSFIELD: "Well, it was totally unexpected, and I... I don't know what to say."
SENATOR HATFIELD: "We have a period of time when a critical erosion of confidence and faith in the whole system has been challenged by many people. And now to have this kind of confirmation of the worst suspicions that some people have ha is really going to have a very profound impact on the whole country."
SENATOR PERCY: "I think the first and foremost thing that can be done is the choice of the President as to who will be the Vice-President and his nomination to that office."
Initials ESP/2314 ESP/2326
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Background: 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: