Published: Fri, November 17, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Corruption trial of US Senator Menendez ends in mistrial

Corruption trial of US Senator Menendez ends in mistrial

On Thursday, they again sent a note claiming they were deadlocked.

Menendez served in the House from 1993 until he was appointed to fill a Senate vacancy in 2006.

Despite spending more than four years pursuing the case and then calling three dozen witnesses and entering hundreds of documents into evidence at the trial, federal prosecutors were not able to convince 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Menendez and Melgen had struck a corrupt deal to trade gifts and political contributions for official favors. They also contended Menendez's meetings with government officials were focused on broad policy issues.

- December 2016: Menendez's attorneys file to have the Supreme Court hear his appeal.

This was never as obvious a case of corruption as were the cases against New York State politicians Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez answers a question from a reporter before entering the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse for his federal corruption trial Thursday Nov. 16 2017 in Newark N.J. Jury deliberations continued
Sen. Bob Menendez's bribery trial ends in mistrial after seven days of deliberations

Menendez was facing potential punishment for 18 counts of corruption, some including bribery, but he is still awaiting conviction for Medicare fraud.

The senator's more immediate troubles may come on Capitol Hill, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) today called for a Senate Ethics Committee examination of Menendez and the charges against him.

So far, though, no strong primary challengers have emerged and judging by the defiant tone Menendez struck on Thursday afternoon, he seems to have no intention of stepping aside. Prosecutor Peter Koski tells jurors in his opening statement that Menendez "sold his office for a lifestyle he couldn't afford".

"(Menendez) is one of only 12 United States senators to have been indicted in our history", McConnell said.

Prosecutors charged the longtime senator accepted flights on Florida eye doctor Melgen's private jet, along with luxury vacations and other gifts, in return for helping his pal's girlfriends obtain US visas. As it turns out, her prediction was spot on.

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Ultimately, neither Menendez nor his co-defendant, Salomon Melgen, both 63, elected to take the stand in their own defense.

At the time, Walls told them to go home for the day, eat a good meal and get some rest, and try again in the morning.

"The way this case started was wrong", said Menendez, flanked by his grown children.

- October 26, 2017: U.S. Sen.

The hung jury is slightly better news for Senate Democrats - at least in the short term - who no longer have to fear losing one of their members in the midst of a pitched battle in Congress over legislation backed by President Trump. Their testimony lasts a combined 10 minutes.

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- November 9, 2017: Juror Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, excused during deliberations for a previously scheduled vacation, tells reporters outside the courthouse that she would have voted for acquittal on all counts but predicts a hung jury. The jurors first reported on Monday that they couldn't agree on a verdict, but the judge asked them to keep trying.

This guy is a character, I'll tell you that. "This is not reality TV, this is real life".

Sen. Bob Menendez arrives at court Thursday, just hours before a judge declared a mistrial in the bribery case against Menendez and a Florida ophthalmologist.

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