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Watergate: Where Are They Now?

September 27, 2018 in History

By Alice Popovici

Find out what happened to some of the key players in the historical scandal that brought down a U.S. president.

On June 17, 1972, five burglars were , he talks about conquering his fears by subjecting himself to gruesome experiments in which he eats rat meat and burns his own flesh. He retired from the airwaves in 2012, saying he wanted to spend more time with his grandchildren.

Read More: How Watergate Changed America’s Intelligence Laws

Charles ‘Chuck’ Colson

HIS ROLE: As special advisor to the president, Colson was the mastermind behind many of the “dirty tricks” and political maneuvers—including spying on political opponents—that brought down the Nixon administration. As Colson told E. Howard Hunt in a recorded telephone conversation, he would write in his memoirs that “Watergate was brilliantly conceived as an escapade that would divert the Democrats’ attention from the real issues, and therefore permit us to win a landslide that we probably wouldn’t have won otherwise.”

THE UPSHOT: Colson pled guilty to obstructing justice in a Watergate-related case involving Daniel Ellsberg, in which he ran a smear campaign seeking to discredit the government contractor who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

POST-SCANDAL: After spending seven months in prison, Colson emerged with a new outlook on life: He wrote Born Again, a book about his embracing Christianity, and founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, an organization that brings religious messaging to inmates and their families. Years later, he said of his transformation, “I shudder to think of what I’d been if I had not gone to prison… Lying on the rotten floor of a cell, you know it’s not prosperity or pleasure that’s important, but the maturing of the soul.” Colson died in 2012.

Donald Segretti

HIS ROLE: A former military prosecutor, Segretti was an operative for the Committee to Re-elect the President, known as the architect behind Nixon’s campaign of political sabotage against Democratic opponents. In one such smear campaign, he created an anonymous letter falsely claiming that former senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson had fathered an illegitimate child with a teenager.

THE UPSHOT: After the Watergate investigation revealed the full extent of his activity, he pled guilty to charges of distributing illegal campaign literature, spending four months in prison.

POST-SCANDAL: After the scandal, Segretti moved back to California, his home state, and kept a low profile, practicing civil and business law from his Newport …read more


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