By TIM WEINER
updated 1 hour 16 minutes ago
Charles W. Colson, who served as a political saboteur for President Richard M. Nixon, masterminded some of the dirty tricks that led to the president’s downfall, then emerged from prison to become an important evangelical leader, saying he had been “born again,” died Saturday. He was 80.
The cause was complications resulting from a brain hemorrhage, according to a statement from Prison Fellowship Ministries, which Mr. Colson founded in Lansdowne, Va.
Mr. Colson had brain surgery to remove a clot after becoming ill on March 30 while speaking at a conference, according to Jim Liske, the group’s chief executive.
Mr. Colson was sent to prison after pleading guilty to obstructing justice in the Watergate affair. After having what he called his religious awakening behind bars, he spent much of the rest of his life ministering to prisoners, preaching the Gospels and helping to forge a coalition among Republican politicians, evangelical church leaders and Roman Catholic conservatives, helping to change the very dynamics of American politics.
It was a remarkable reversal.
‘Lightning rod’ for Nixon’s frustrations
Mr. Colson was a 38-year-old Washington lawyer when he joined the Nixon White House as a special counsel in November 1969. He quickly caught the president’s eye. His “instinct for the political jugular and his ability to get things done made him a lightning rod for my own frustrations,” Nixon wrote in his memoirs. In 1970, the president made him his “political point man” for “imaginative dirty tricks.”
“When I complained to Colson, I felt confident that something would be done,” Nixon wrote. “I was rarely disappointed.” … MORE HERE