Miami E. Howard Hunt, the organizer of the Watergate break-in that led to the greatest political scandal in U.S. history and toppled the presidency of Richard Nixon, died Tuesday. He was 88.
Hunt died after a lengthy bout with pneumonia, according to his son, Austin Hunt.
The bulk of Hunt's notoriety came from the one thing he always insisted he wasn't - a Watergate burglar. He often said he preferred the term "Watergate conspirator."
Hunt recruited the five actual burglars who broke into the Watergate office building in an attempt to find evidence in the books of the Democratic National Committee showing Cuba making contributions to the campaign of presidential hopeful George McGovern.
The idea was wrong, the burglars were caught and the fallout escalated into a huge political scandal.
Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974. Twenty-five men were sent to prison for their involvement in the botched plan, and a new era of skepticism toward government began. Hunt eventually spent 33 months in prison on a conspiracy charge, and said he was bitter that he was sent to jail while Nixon was allowed to resign.