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Robert Morgenthau, longest-serving Manhattan DA, dies at 99

NEW YORK — The longest-serving former Manhattan district attorney who tried mob kingpins, music stars and white-collar criminals and inspired a character on ‘Law & Order’ has died.

Robert Morgenthau was 99.

His wife, Lucinda Franks, told The New York Times that Morgenthau died Sunday at a Manhattan hospital after a short illness.

Fictional prosecutor Adam Schiff, played by actor Steven Hill on the long-running television series “Law & Order,” was modeled after Morgenthau.

“Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf called Morgenthau “the greatest district attorney in the history of New York.”

Morgenthau served as U.S. Attorney for New York’s southern district during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He returned to law enforcement as Manhattan’s top state prosecutor in 1974 and didn’t leave until 2009, with his office handling around 100,000 criminal cases yearly.

The Associated Press