USA to retry Senator Menendez on bribery, corruption charges: filing

Lucy Bush
January 20, 2018

The Justice Department filed a notice Friday that it will re-try Democratic New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez after his trial on corruption charges past year ended in mistrial.

After November's hung jury, Menendez suggested that he was ready to run for reelection this November, despite polls showing voters don't want him to.

Daniel Petalas, a Washington lawyer and former prosecutor in the Justice Department unit that brought the Menendez case, said the government obviously feels confident about the strength of the case but may bring a more streamlined version the second time around. The retrial could also allow national Democrats to finally move away from Menendez now that New Jersey has a Democratic governor.

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Prosecutors had accused the senator of accepting bribes from Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy ophthalmologist in Florida, in return for political favors.

That case ended after a juror, who was excused from deliberations due to vacation plans, told the media that the panel was deadlocked.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict in his November trial. Menendez's office says the government has made a decision to "double down on an unjust prosecution".

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Both Menendez and Melgen have maintained their innocence.

Prosecutors claimed Menendez used the power of his office to advocate before federal officials on behalf of Melgen's personal and business matters in exchange for campaign contributions, air travel and luxury accommodations.

Similarly, when several State Department witnesses testified that Menendez had threatened to hold a congressional hearing if they did not intervene in a contract dispute between Melgen and the Dominican Republic over cargo screening at the nation's ports, the defense said the senator was troubled by port security more generally.

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Melgen was convicted a year ago in a separate Medicare fraud case in Florida.

Other reports by Info About Network

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