- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Robert Charles Mardian, an attorney for President Nixon’s re-election campaign whose conviction in the Watergate scandal was overturned on appeal, died July 17 of complications from lung cancer at his vacation home in San Clemente, Calif. He was 82.

Mr. Mardian was born and raised in Pasadena, Calif. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 1941.

He joined the Naval Reserve at the university after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and was called to active duty June 6, 1942.

Mr. Mardian was commissioned as an ensign at Columbia University’s Midshipmen’s School in New York, and he served as commander of a subchaser in the Aleutian Islands, even though he was the youngest man on board.

While in the Navy, Mr. Mardian met Dorothy Denniss, whom he married in April 1946.

Following Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II, Mr. Mardian signed his own separation papers from the Navy and resumed civilian life with his new bride.

Immediately after his discharge, Mr. Mardian was accepted at the University of Southern California Law School. He graduated with honors in 1949 and opened his law office, Poole & Mardian, in Pasadena.

He later became a partner in the law firm Boyle, Atwill, Mardian and Stearns, and then joined Wesco Financial Corp. and served as executive vice president and general counsel for its subsidiary, Mutual Savings and Loan Association, from 1962 to 1969.

Mr. Mardian was involved in numerous political campaigns. He served as Western regional director for Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign and was chairman of Ronald Reagan’s state advisory committee during Mr. Reagan’s 1966 campaign for governor of California.

In 1968, he was the Western states co-chairman for Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. After Mr. Nixon’s 1969 inauguration, Mr. Mardian was confirmed as general counsel to what was then the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

In 1970, Mr. Mardian was appointed by the president to be executive director of the Cabinet Committee on Education. Later that year, he was confirmed by the Senate as assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice.

Two years later, Mr. Mardian became the attorney of record for the Committee to Re-elect the President and became embroiled in the Watergate investigation.

He initially was sentenced from 10 months to three years in prison for conspiracy to obstruct justice, but the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the conviction in 1976 on the grounds that Mr. Mardian should have had a separate trial from others involved. The government declined to retry him.

He then joined his brothers in Phoenix as vice president and general counsel for Mardian Construction Co. and other family-owned entities, before retiring in 2002.

Mr. Mardian earned numerous awards, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award and the Jaycees’ Young Man of the Year Award.

He received the American Legion 50th Anniversary Medallion Award in 1969 and was named alumnus of the year by UCSB in 1971.

Mr. Mardian is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dorothy Mardian of Phoenix; three sons, Robert C. Mardian Jr. of Dana Point, Calif., William D. Mardian of San Clemente and Blair A. Mardian of Kona, Hawaii; two brothers; a sister; and 10 grandchildren.

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