Charles Colson, a special counsel for President Richard Nixon during the Watergate era, has died at the age 80.

Colson, who once said he would run over his grandmother to get Mr. Nixon re-elected, went to prison for his role in a Watergate-related case.

Colson helped run the Committee to Re-elect the President when it began an effort to gather intelligence on political rivals. The arrest of five of their employees burglarizing the Democratic National Committee offices in 1972 set off the scandal that led to Mr. Nixon’s resignation in August 1974.

The Washington Post described him in 1972 as “one of the most powerful presidential aides, variously described as a troubleshooter and as a ‘master of dirty tricks.’ ”

Colson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and served seven months in prison in Alabama.

Prior to the start of his prison sentence, Colson became a born-again Christian. After his release he founded Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit organization that conducts outreach to prisoners.

He wrote dozens of books and had a Christian-themed radio show that reached millions of listeners.

In 2005, Colson was named one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.”

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