Henry E. Petersen

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Henry E. Petersen
Assistant Attorney General of the United States (Criminal Division)
In office
1972–1974
President Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford
Personal details
Born Henry E. Petersen
1921
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
United States
Died 1991 (aged 69–70)
Sunderland, Maryland,
United States
Spouse(s) Jean L. King
Alma mater Georgetown University
Catholic University
Profession attorney

Henry E. Petersen (1921-1991)[1] was an American attorney and government official. He served as United States Assistant Attorney General during the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations. Petersen conducted many interviews during the Watergate scandal. Petersen was perhaps the only investigator to research allegations of US voting fraud in the 1970s.

Voter fraud investigation[edit]

In the September 1970 Florida primary elections Kenneth Collier, later a co-author of the book Votescam," was a candidate for U.S. Congress, running against incumbent Claude Pepper on the Democratic ticket.

The elections were suspected to have been "rigged" after Miami television stations were able to predict the final vote percentage of each candidate, as well as the projected vote totals, with purportedly complete accuracy immediately after the polls closed. The computers used for this purpose were apparently programmed by Ross Beiler of the University of Miami and Elton Davis of the Cavanaugh Computer Corporation. The two men are named in Petersen's memo to the Acting Director of the FBI at the time, L. Patrick Gray, concerning the investigation:

[...] The Colliers allege Beiler and Davis participated in a scheme to rig the above-mentioned primary. Statements obtained from the Colliers regarding their allegations have been forwarded to the Criminal Division, which has requested Beiler and Davis to be interviewed to ascertain their possible involvement in alleged scheme to rig this election. If Professor Beiler or Mr. Davis acknowledges that he did participate in rigging this election, the Bureau should attempt to ascertain the manner in which this rigging was affected, for what purpose it was effected, and who directed the elections to be rigged.

ACTION: Departmental Attorney Craig C. Donsanto was contacted and advised as a matter of courtesy. Crime Records Division were recommended to advise Congressman Pepper that at the specific request of Assistant Attorney General Henry E. Petersen, Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, an investigation has been instituted. (End of memo)[2]

Petersen began his career with the FBI in 1947 and eventually joined the Justice Department before resigning in 1974.[1][3]

Personal[edit]

Petersen was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1921 and grew up in Washington DC area. Petersen served in the United States Marine Corps in the South Pacific during World War II.[1] After returning, Petersen studied at Georgetown University and received his law degree from the Catholic University of America.[1]

Petersen died of emphysema in Sunderland, Maryland in 1991 at age 70.[4]

External links[edit]

References[edit]