Political Consultant Charged in New Jersey Corruption Scandal Found Dead

A political consultant involved in a sweeping corruption scandal in New Jersey was found dead Tuesday in his Jersey City apartment, a bottle of pills by his side, authorities said.

The consultant, Jack M. Shaw, was among 44 people arrested — including three mayors and two state lawmakers — in an FBI sting that started with an investigation into the black-market sale of human kidneys and fake Gucci handbags.

Federal prosecutors accused the 61-year-old Shaw of taking $10,000 in bribes for himself from a government informant and proposing that the cooperating witness make a $10,000 campaign contribution to an unnamed Jersey City official.

Shaw's cause of death hasn't yet been determined. Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio told The Jersey Journal that it doesn't seem to be a homicide, but nothing has been ruled out. DeFazio said a relative found Shaw's body and called police shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

A preliminary autopsy conducted Wednesday didn't establish a cause of death. DeFazio says more toxicology tests are needed.

No weapon was discovered at the scene, he said, adding Shaw was suffering from an undisclosed illness.

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Earlier Tuesday, Secaucus, N.J., Mayor Dennis Elwell resigned. He faces charges he accepted $10,000 from a federal cooperating witness in exchange for help on a building project in Secaucus.

Jersey City's mayor has suspended without pay six employees arrested last week in the probe, including Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini.

Most are charged with accepting bribes from a federal cooperating witness posing as a developer looking to gain approvals for a building project.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.