Former two-term Gov. Brendan Byrne, who mobsters said was too ethical to be bribed and who authorized the law permitting gambling in Atlantic City, has died at age 93.
Byrne, a Democrat, died Thursday at a home in Livingston, his son Tom Byrne said. He suffered an infection that went into his lungs and "was too weak to fight," the son said.
Byrne built his reputation as a crusading prosecutor and held numerous governmental positions during more than 30 years of public service. He also signed New Jersey's first income tax into law and authorized the law permitting gambling in Atlantic City during his two terms as the state's chief executive.
He won his first term as governor in 1973, beating Republican state Rep. Charles W. Sandman Jr. by more than 700,000 votes. His campaign was helped by an FBI surveillance tape that showed mobsters discussing how Byrne, the Essex County prosecutor in the 1960s, was too ethical to be bribed.