| Spiro Agnew |
On October 10, 1973, Spiro Agnew became the second US Vice President to resign the office. Unlike John C. Calhoun, who resigned to take a seat in the Senate, Agnew resigned and then pleaded no contest to criminal charges of tax evasion, part of a negotiated resolution to a scheme wherein he was accused of accepting more than $100,000 in bribes during his tenure as governor of Maryland. Agnew was fined $10,000 and put on three years' probation. The $10,000 fine covered only the taxes and interest due on what was "unreported income" from 1967. The plea bargain was later mocked by former Maryland attorney general Stephen H. Sachs as "the greatest deal since the Lord spared Isaac on the mountaintop." Students of Professor John F. Banzhaf III from the George Washington University Law School found four residents of the state of Maryland willing to put their names on a case and sought to have Agnew repay the state $268,482, the amount it was said he had taken in bribes. After two appeals by Agnew, he finally resigned himself to the matter and a check for $268,482 was turned over to Maryland State Treasurer William S. James in early 1983.
As a result of his no-contest plea, the state of Maryland later disbarred Agnew, calling him "morally obtuse". As in most jurisdictions, Maryland lawyers are automatically disbarred after being convicted of a felony, and a no-contest plea exposes the defendant to the same penalties as one would face with a guilty plea.
Agnew's resignation triggered the first use of the 25th Amendment, specifically Section 2, as the vacancy prompted the appointment and confirmation of Gerald Ford, the House Minority Leader, as his successor. This remains one of only two instances in which the amendment has been employed to fill a vice-presidential vacancy. The second time was when Ford, after becoming President upon Nixon's resignation, chose Nelson Rockefeller to succeed him as Vice President. Had Agnew remained as Vice President when Nixon resigned just 10 months later, Agnew himself would have become the 38th President, instead of Ford.
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- Agnew, Spiro T., Go Quietly....or else, p. 15.
- Agnew, Spiro T.,Go Quietly...or else, pp. 16–17.
- 1973 Year in Review: Vice Presidency
- Patrick Mondout Veep Spiro Agnew Resigns Super70s.com
- ABA Journal May 2009, http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/may_2_1974/
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