Post by That Derek
Seymour Glanzer, an original Watergate prosecutor, dies at 91
By Bart Barnes May 30 at 10:02 AM
Seymour Glanzer, a lawyer whose five decades of practice included the
prosecution of the original Watergate break-in defendants and the defense of
the American convicted in the Washington car-bomb attack that killed former
Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier, died April 3 at a hospital in the
District. He was 91.
[Sorry, gang. I've used up all my free Wash. Post look-ups for this calendar month.]
The cause was heart ailments, said a daughter, Judy Slate.
Mr. Glanzer was an assistant U.S. attorney and had more than a decade
of federal legal experience dismantling business scams and frauds when
he became one of three prosecutors of the initial Watergate defendants.
In his 11 months in that role, he helped win convictions or guilty
pleas from all seven men charged in the 1972 break-in at Democratic
National Committee headquarters. The men, linked to the Nixon White
House, were attempting to plant eavesdropping devices at the DNC
offices located at the Watergate complex.
After the first Watergate trial, Mr. Glanzer participated in the
investigation of the "coverup conspiracy," which led to the indictments
of Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell, Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman,
White House counsel John Dean and presidential aide John D. Ehrlichman.
The fallout from the prosecution ultimately led to the resignation of
President Richard Nixon in August 1974.
The New York Times reported that Mr. Glanzer, as a Watergate
prosecutor, had a "reputation as a 'buzz saw' when interrogating a
One friend told the paper that he was so thorough in his prosecutorial
preparation that he "never goes into a courtroom without the handcuffs
In 1974, Mr. Glanzer became a partner in the law firm of what is now
Dickstein Shapiro and maintained his affiliation with the firm until
his death. His clients included Frank Fitzsimmons, who succeeded the
imprisoned Jimmy Hoffa as leader of the Teamsters union; and Michael V.
Townley, a U.S. citizen accused of conspiring with Chile's secret
police to assassinate Letelier.
Letelier had served as a diplomat and foreign minister under Chile's
Marxist leader Salvador Allende, who was ousted in a military coup in
1973, and was an outspoken opponent of the coup leader turned dictator
On Sept. 21, 1976, Letelier and an American co-worker, Ronni Moffitt,
who was riding with him, were killed when their car exploded — one of
the first terrorists acts committed on U.S. soil.
Mr. Glanzer negotiated with prosecutors an agreement that, in exchange
for a guilty plea and a promise of cooperation with the government,
Townley would be immune from further prosecution and would serve a
minimum prison sentence.
After serving 62 months in prison for the murder conspiracy, Townley
was paroled in 1983 and placed in the federal witness protection
program. He testified for the government in the prosecution of other
conspirators involved in the Letelier bombing and was granted immunity
from extradition to Argentina, where he was wanted in connection with
another car-bombing murder.
Seymour Glanzer was born in New York on May 22, 1926. During World War
II, he served in the Army in the Philippines. In his youth, his passion
was for clarinet and saxophone, but, after graduating in 1956 from
Juilliard music school in Manhattan, he realized his musical ambition
exceeded his talent. Four years later, he obtained a degree from New
York Law School.
He became a lawyer for the Securities and Exchange Commission before
joining the U.S. attorney's Washington office, rising to chief of the
He specialized in white-collar crime, tax and antitrust cases,
financial fraud, and home repair and improvement scams in which
low-income homeowners were swindled.
He won guilty pleas and jail sentences of four men who were accused of
defrauding the Navy of $4 million in a defense contracting scheme in
which they tried to conceal the money in secret Swiss bank accounts. He
won a case to compel manufacturers of dietetic ginger ale to get sugar
out of their products, in an effort to protect diabetic customers.
In 1957, he married a Juilliard contemporary, pianist Rita Preisman. In
addition to his wife, of Washington, survivors include two children,
Steve Glanzer of San Francisco and Judy Slate of Bozeman, Mont.; and