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Nixon counsel Colson dies at 80

Charles Colson, the special counsel to US President Richard Nixon who went to prison for his role in a Watergate-related case and became a Christian evangelical dedicated to helping inmates, has died. He was 80.

Jim Liske, chief executive of the Lansdowne, Virginia-based Prison Fellowship Ministries that Colson founded, said Colson died on Saturday.

Colson, with his trademark horn-rimmed glasses, was known as the "evil genius" of the Nixon administration who once said he would walk over his grandmother to get the president elected to a second term.

The Washington Post described him in 1972 as "one of the most powerful presidential aides, variously described as a trouble-shooter and as a 'master of dirty tricks.'"

The Watergate scandal ultimately led to the resignation of president Nixon in 1974. It followed the break-in at the Democratic National Committee office in Washington and the bid by the Nixon administration to cover up its involvement.

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