Nixon paid whistle-blower $142,000 to avert a lawsuit

Former President Richard Nixon paid a fired Pentagon official $142,000 to avert a trial in a lawsuit the former whistle-blower brought against him. Confirmation of the out-of-court settlement came in Nixon's Supreme Court appeal of the case in which A. Ernest Fitzgerald claims Mr. Nixon fired him for disclosing cost overruns on the D-5A transport plane.

Nixon's attorneys want the court to rule on whether he is protected from suits brought for acts he may have committed as president. Opposing attorneys in this and another case, brought by a former National Security Council staff member whose phones were tapped in a crackdown on leaks within the Nixon administration, hope to avoid a ruling that might shield presidents from damage suits.

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