Watergate investigator to talk to genealogy society

Jul. 29, 2014 @ 10:14 AM

Raleigh attorney Gene Boyce will present the program “From Duct Tape to Electronic Tapes: How We Found the Truth About Watergate” at the Aug. 7 meeting of the Granville County Genealogical Society at 6:30 p.m. in the large conference room of the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford.

In his presentation, Boyce will discuss his experiences in Washington, D.C., as assistant majority counsel for the U.S. Senate Watergate Committee during its famed televised hearings in 1973. Boyce led the investigative team that discovered the secret taping system inside President Richard Nixon’s White House. This discovery ultimately led to the only resignation to date of a U.S. president on Aug. 9, 1974.

Boyce was one of several North Carolinians who worked on the Watergate Committee chaired by North Carolina Sen. Sam J. Ervin Jr. Boyce’s papers and memorabilia from this historic period are currently being featured in the exhibit “Watergate: Political Scandal and the Presidency” at the North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh.

The exhibit, which runs through Aug. 10, highlights North Carolina connections and contributions to the Watergate investigation, including those of fellow Tar Heels, Rufus Edmisten, Michael Carpenter, Phillip Haire and Lacy M. Presnell III who worked alongside Boyce on the committee.

An accomplished attorney with a long and distinguished career, Boyce is senior counsel with the Nexsen Pruet law firm, where his son Dan is also an attorney. Although he began his career doing civil and criminal trial work (both prosecution and defense), Boyce’s experience on the Watergate Committee whetted his appetite for constitutional law. Subsequently, his practice evolved to the point where he began handling only constitutional law and state tax class action cases.

Among Boyce’s best-known state tax class action cases were the Bailey retirees case and the Smith/Shaver Intangibles Tax Case. Plaintiffs in the Bailey case included government retirees (state, federal, city or town retirees) and retired military. Plaintiffs in the Smith/Shaver case included individuals who were forced to pay the hated North Carolina Intangibles Tax on their stock or bank accounts in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994.

Boyce represented and was responsible for protecting the Constitutional rights of more than 460,000 clients beginning in 1989 and finally completing all work on the two cases in 2005. Through Boyce’s extended court work, he fought and ultimately proved the state of North Carolina had taken — by illegal taxes and in violation of the Constitutional rights of his 460,000 client — more than $1.496 billion. Boyce obtained full refunds for his clients.

Boyce is a summa cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University. He also graduated magna cum laude from the Wake Forest School of Law, achieving one of the highest grade point averages in the school’s history. Subsequently, he spent three years in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant at Fort Benning, Georgia; the Army Law School at the University of Virginia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, mainly as a prosecutor and defense lawyer in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps. A North Carolina native, Boyce and his wife, Pat, have three children and seven grandchildren.

All society meetings are open to the public, and guests are cordially invited to attend.