Watergate convict and prison ministry founder Charles Colson dies

April 22, 2012

(Chuck Colson, June 18, 2003. REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Charles Colson, a Richard Nixon White House operative during the Watergate scandal who had a reputation for ruthlessness before going to jail and starting a prison ministry, died on Saturday at age 80, the ministry said.

Colson, who compiled Nixon’s infamous “enemies list” before Watergate brought down the president in 1974, died of complications from a brain hemorrhage after being admitted to a hospital in Fairfax, Virginia, on March 31, Prison Fellowship Ministries said in a statement on its website.

He had undergone surgery to remove clotting on his brain, but his condition deteriorated earlier this week.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Chuck Colson – our friend, founder, and brother in Christ – has passed away,” the ministry’s CEO, Jim Liske, said in the statement. “T h ough we mourn the loss of a great leader, we rejoice knowing God has welcomed his humble and faithful servant home.”

Colson served as counsel to the president from 1969 to 1973 and a major part of his job was playing hardball politics to assure Nixon’s re-election in 1972.

“I would walk over my own grandmother if necessary” to get Nixon re-elected, Colson once said.

In 1973, Time magazine said Colson “was probably more disliked, as well as feared, than any other White House aide … If Colson actually performed half the various acts of which he has been accused, he was easily the least principled of all Nixon’s associates.”

Read the full story by Bill Trott here.
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