Geoff came to Washington, DC in 1969 as a White House Fellow, after graduating from Whittier College and Harvard Law School. The youngest lawyer on President Nixon’s White House staff, he served on the Domestic Council for five years, rising to associate director. He also worked as deputy counsel on Nixon’s Watergate defense team.
He has spent much of his career researching Watergate issues and is today the foremost authority on behind-the-scenes developments, both at the White House and the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, as the scandal unfolded.
He has written three books, given dozens of lectures, and written dozens of essays. He is technical consultant to an Off Broadway stage play, did a series of podcast interviews with Hugh Hewitt in 2020, and taught an adult education course at Temple University in 2019.
The Nixon Conspiracy
As the youngest lawyer on Richard Nixon’s staff, Geoff Shepard personally transcribed the Oval Office tape in which Nixon appeared to authorize getting the CIA to interfere with the ongoing FBI investigation, and even coined the phrase “the smoking gun.” Like many others, the idealistic Shepard was deeply disappointed in the president. But as time went on, the meticulous lawyer was nagged by the persistent sense that something wasn’t right with the case against Nixon.
The Real Watergate Scandal
“The system worked,” Carl Bernstein’s famous assessment of Watergate, turns out to be completely wrong. Powerful new evidence reveals that in the most consequential scandal in American history, virtually nothing worked as intended. The real Watergate scandal is how our Constitution and Bill of Rights were deliberately trashed in the successful effort to realign political power, drive President Nixon from office, and imprison his senior aides.
The Secret Plot to Make Ted Kennedy President
The author’s first Watergate book, The Secret Plot to Make Ted Kennedy President, was published by Penguin Sentinel in 2008. It explores the political forces behind the successful exploitation of the Watergate scandal to realign political power following Nixon’s landslide 1972 re-election.
Trial on the Potomac: The Impeachment of President Nixon
Geoff was a technical consultant for a stage play by George Bugatti, which opened for a five-week off-Broadway production on August 4, 2021, staring Rich Little as President Nixon. It was performed at St. Clement’s Theatre, 46th Street (between Ninth and Tenth), in mid-town Manhattan, until closing on September 4.
The plot had President Nixon choosing to stand trial in the Senate, rather than resigning in the face of certain impeachment by the House. We already know how such a trial might have been conducted from the Clinton and Trump experiences, but the drama comes from disclosure of the wrongdoing by prosecutors and judges, as documented in my writings, which comes out during the trial. As such, the play asks: if everything we know today–about how Nixon was improperly driven from office–had been known back then, could Nixon’s opponents have mustered the necessary sixty-seven votes to remove him?
The audience of “Senators” was given ballots to cast on their way out – with the verdict from each performance posted on the website, www.trialonthepotomac.com, along with documents labeled Supporting Evidence and links to each paper mentioned during the play itself. Interestingly, in only one of the twenty-nine performances was there sufficient “Guilty” votes to remove Nixon from office.
Hugh Hewitt Podcast
In January, 2020, Geoff did a series of interviews with Hugh Hewitt at the Nixon Library. “Known Unknowns: Watergate” consists of eight episodes, along with an epilogue. They were posted on YouTube on February 6th: Watch here
The podcast version is available on Soundcloud: Listen here
Geoff Shepard Lectures at Temple University
Geoff taught a course in the adult education program at Temple University in the beginning of 2019. “Watergate Revisited: An Insider’s View,” consisted of twelve hour-long lectures, followed by thirty minutes of Q&A. The entire 18 hours of material was videotaped and will be released later this year. Here is a brief video done by one of the students on the last day of class (April 22nd). In addition, C-SPAN re-broadcast two of the lectures on its American History channel: