A former Justice Department official who was a special Watergate prosecutor and worked on several major cases in the 1960s and 1970s died Thursday at the age of 81, the Associated Press reported.
James F. Neal, who held various DOJ posts from 1961 to 1966, died Thursday night at a Nashville hospital.
“He had been suffering the last several months from cancer,” Aubrey Harwell told the AP. Harwell was his partner at Neal & Harwell PLC in Nashville, which they founded in 1971.
Neal was Special Assistant to then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy from 1961 to 1964, handling the successful prosecution of Teamster Union president James Hoffa for jury tampering. He went on to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee from 1964 to 1966.
The former prosecutor worked in private practice for several years after his tenure as U.S. Attorney. But he returned to public service in 1973 to serve as the Chief Trial Counsel of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force until 1974. He successfully prosecuted Richard Nixon administration officials H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Attorney General John Mitchell. He also served as the chief counsel to a special Senate panel the probed the Justice Department’s ABSCAM bribery claims in 1982.
In private practice, Neal successfully defended the Ford Motor Company in the Pinto case, Elvis Presley’s doctor against charges that he gave too many prescription drugs to the singer and the Exxon Corporation in the Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill case.