Martin F. Dardis
Raul Rubiera  /  Miami Herald file
Martin F. Dardis is shown in this June 3, 2005, photo taken in his Palm City, Fla., home.
updated 5/18/2006 9:35:17 PM ET 2006-05-19T01:35:17

Martin F. Dardis, the chief investigator for the Dade County state attorney who linked the Watergate burglars to President Nixon, has died. He was 83.

Dardis died Tuesday at a Palm City nursing home from a vascular condition, his daughter Erin Dardis told The Associated Press.

Martin Dardis traced money found on the Watergate burglars to the Committee to Re-elect the President. The 1972 discovery led to further misdeeds, which ultimately forced the resignation of Nixon.

"He was always for the underdog," Erin Dardis told the AP. "He did things like help people get out of prison that were wrongly convicted. He would get involved for free and spend his time investigating. He always sought the truth."

In 1972, Dardis was tipped off to a Miami bank's cash connection with the Watergate burglars and subpoenaed its records. He learned that one burglar, Bernard L. Barker, had worked with the CIA during the Bay of Pigs and held an account with a recently deposited $25,000 check from a major Republican fund-raiser.

Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward has called that check the "connective tissue" that linked the burglars to Nixon's re-election campaign, The Miami Herald reported.

Dardis later said he was misrepresented in Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward's book "All The President's Men" the and subsequent movie of the same title, in which he was portrayed by Ned Beatty. He told the Miami Herald last year the movie made him seem like a shabbily dressed "buffoon."

Dardis, a high school dropout who lied about his age to join the Army at 16, was awarded a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and Silver Stars for gallantry after rescuing an American pilot in World War II, the Herald reported.

He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors this summer, his daughter said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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