BILOXI, Miss. (AP) – Fred LaRue, a Watergate figure and high-ranking Nixon administration official who once was rumored to be Deep Throat, has died of natural causes. He was 75.

His body was discovered Tuesday by a maid who entered his hotel room in Biloxi, Coroner Gary Hargrove said.

LaRue was known as the “bagman” who delivered payoffs to keep participants in the Watergate break-in quiet, and served 41/2 months in federal prison for conspiracy to obstruct justice.

LaRue served as special assistant to John Mitchell, the former attorney general who later headed President Nixon’s re-election committee.

LaRue was present at a 1972 meeting with Mitchell and Nixon aide Jeb Stuart Magruder at Nixon’s vacation home in Key Biscayne, Fla., where the plan to break into the Watergate complex in Washington allegedly was hatched. LaRue said he advised against the burglarization of the building, which housed Democratic Party headquarters.

After his political career ended in scandal, LaRue returned to his home state of Mississippi to work in his family’s oil company and with its real estate holdings.

LaRue discounted rumors that he was Deep Throat, saying the mysterious source for Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the Watergate story was not one person, but probably a combination of several people.

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