Steinbrenner blamed legal advice for conviction

May 9, 2011 - 11:29 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — George Steinbrenner blamed an illegal corporate campaign contribution to President Richard Nixon on bad legal advice.

Newly released FBI documents show that Steinbrenner, then the owner of the New York Yankees, told FBI officials in 1979 that he would not have made the $25,000 donation had he known it was illegal. An FBI memo reports that Steinbrenner, who died last year, said that his lawyers should have been more thorough in their legal research. Steinbrenner was seeking a pardon for the conviction.

In August 1974, just two weeks after Nixon resigned in the Watergate scandal, Steinbrenner pleaded guilty to two charges in the case and was fined $15,000. Another FBI memo shows that Steinbrenner considered the conviction an "embarrassment."

Steinbrenner ultimately was pardoned by President Ronald Reagan.