Nixon-era DOJ official made famous by 'Saturday Night Massacre' dies at 87
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Former Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, one of two top Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who resigned rather than fire the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal, died Wednesday at 87, his family said.

Ruckelshaus joined the Nixon administration in 1969 as assistant attorney general in the DOJ’s civil rights division before becoming the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first administrator in 1970. In 1973, after a brief stint as acting FBI director, he was appointed deputy attorney general.

In what became known as the "Saturday Night Massacre," both he and Attorney General Elliot Richardson stepped down rather than carry out then-President Nixon’s order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, with the next most-senior DOJ official, Solicitor General Robert Bork, eventually firing Cox.

Ruckelshaus later served as EPA administrator again under former President Reagan from 1983 to 1985.

In 2015, former President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, citing both his environmental work and his refusal to fire Cox.