Freda Reiter – Nixon, Colson on Phone – Pastel Drawing


Recreation of 1973 conversation, drawn to accompany television playback of Nixon White House tapes during the 1974 trial. As Nixon’s special counsel and designated “hatchet man,” Colson had been involved in the establishment of the White House Plumbers, and the burglary of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office. The conversation might be that of March 21, 1973, which was played back during the trial.

Pastel drawing, 17″ x 14″

Watergate exhibition page

Freda L. Reiter


Since cameras were banned from courtrooms, news outlets depended on professional sketch artists like Freda Reiter for visuals. When Reiter was assigned the Watergate burglary trial, in 1973, she had no idea that she would be spending the better part of two years in Washington.

Watergate Courtroom Sketches by Freda L. Reiter, 1973–75

To provide sufficient visuals for the substantial airtime allotted to the story each night, Reiter made multiple sketches a day: close-up portraits, as well as wide-angle views of the courtroom incorporating as many as 28 figures.