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Former U.S. Attorney George Beall, Who Pursued Agnew, Has Died

January 17th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

WBAL reports former U.S. attorney George Beall, a key figure in the scandal that chased Vice President Spiro T. Agnew from office, has died. He was 79.

"Although George Beall’s family was politically active and Vice President Agnew was a member of Beall’s own political party, Beall did not hesitate to pursue the case," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said of his predecessor's passing. "His commitment to justice serves as an example to us all. He went on to serve in many other public roles throughout his life, inspiring countless other lawyers with his wisdom and humor."

Agnew was the U.S. attorney in Baltimore from 1970 to 1975. In 1973, his office investigated allegations that as Baltimore County executive in 1966, Agnew solicited kickbacks from county contractors, a process that continued with state contractors when he was governor and even vice president.

"The attorney general said, well, you do what you have to do," Beall recalled in a speech at Frostburg University in 2003. "You go ahead and do what prosecutors are supposed to do, which is, you know, chase crooks. So we hunkered down in Baltimore."

The allegations led to a plea bargain that included Agnew's resignation. Gerald Ford was confirmed as Agnew's replacement. Ford would assume the presidency after President Richard Nixon's resignation the following year in the Watergate scandal.

Beall was the son of U.S. Sen. Glenn Beall and the brother of J. Glenn Beall Jr., who won election to fill his father's seat by defeating the man who had put him out of office, Joseph D. Tydings, according to a New York Times article on Beall in 1973. In 1968, Agnew appointed his future tormentor to the Maryland State Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. An inscribed photo of Agnew was visible at the entrance to Beall's office that called him "a very able U.S. attorney."\

Rosenstein said Beall was an occasional visitor to his old officer, most recently speaking at its annual award ceremony in 2011. The office's executive conference room will be named in his memory, and a photo of Beall meeting with Maryland's federal prosecutors in 1975 will be hung on the wall, Rosenstein said.

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