In another episode, after withdrawing $100,000 earmarked for the anti-Wallace effort from a safe deposit box, he hand-delivered the cash to a stranger in the lobby of the Sherry-Netherland Hotel in New York, identifying himself as âMr. Jensen of Detroit.â
Mr. Kalmbach later testified that when John W. Dean III, the presidentâs counsel, instructed him to meet him in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, to discuss the hush money, he was cued to wave his arms boisterously during their conversation so that they would not appear to be conspiratorial.
âIt was like a Grade B thriller,â Mr. Kalmbach said.
On Feb. 25, 1974, he pleaded guilty to violating the Federal Corrupt Practices Act by raising $3.9 million for a secret Republican congressional campaign committee. The money included a $100,000 contribution from an ambassador who was promised an even more prestigious post.
On June 17, Judge John J. Sirica, in United States District Court in Washington, sentenced Mr. Kalmbach to up to 18 months in prison. But Mr. Kalmbach wound up serving only a third of that, 191 days, when Judge Sirica released him the following January, citing his cooperation with prosecutors.
Though he admitted that he had violated federal law, Mr. Kalmbach, in his own defense, testified that he had solicited money for the Watergate burglars and had delivered it to them because he had been told that it was being granted on âhumanitarianâ grounds â to pay for the menâs legal fees and to support their families â and that it had been authorized by John D. Ehrlichman, the presidentâs assistant for domestic affairs, and by Mr. Dean.
âThe fact that I had been directed to undertake these actions by the No. 2 and No. 3 men on the White House staff,â Mr. Kalmbach said, âmade it absolutely incomprehensible to me that my actions in this regard could have been regarded in any way as improper or unethical.â