The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it plans to retry Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez on bribery and corruption charges after a jury was deadlocked during a trial in November.
The government is seeking the “earliest possible date” for a retrial, according to a court filing. Menendez, who has represented New Jersey in the Senate since 2006, is expected to run for another six-year term this year, and the state’s Democratic leaders have endorsed his bid despite the charges.
“The decision to retry this case was made based on the facts and the law, following a careful review,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
Menendez, 64, is accused of accepting private flights, campaign contributions and other bribes from a wealthy patron, Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, in exchange for official favors.
Melgen, who was separately convicted last year in Florida of perpetrating a massive Medicare fraud, will also be retried, the Justice Department said.
“We regret that the DOJ, after spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, and failing to prove a single allegation in a court of law, has decided to double down on an unjust prosecution,” Menendez’s office said in a statement. “Evidently, they did not hear the overwhelming voices of the New Jerseyans who served on the jury this fall. Senator Menendez fully intends to be vindicated – again.”
A lawyer for Melgen, Kirk Ogrosky, said in an email that they were “disappointed” in the decision to continue a “ridiculous” prosecution.
The case was the first high-profile corruption trial for federal prosecutors since a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2016 limited their ability to bring such charges.
A second trial this year could pose a major distraction for Menendez and his fellow Democrats, who are already facing an unfriendly electoral map in their quest to wrest control of the Senate.
Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 advantage but only have to defend eight seats, compared with 26 for Democrats and independents who caucus with them.
During the 10-week trial last year, prosecutors said Melgen showered Menendez with gifts. In exchange, they said, Menendez pressured Medicare officials to revamp the agency’s billing policies after Melgen was found to have overbilled it by millions of dollars.
The senator also helped secure visas for Melgen’s foreign girlfriends and asked U.S. officials to resolve a port dispute in the Dominican Republic involving one of Melgen’s companies, prosecutors said.
Defense attorneys said Menendez and Melgen were simply close friends.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Additional reporting by David Shepardson and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; editing by Grant McCool)
Trump gets triggered by ‘threats of impeaching’ Kavanaugh ‘over made up stories’ of sexual misconduct
President Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out at Democrats who have called for the impeachment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
After fresh evidence of sexual misconduct came to light over the weekend, several Democratic presidential candidates said that they support the impeachment of Kavanaugh.
By Sunday afternoon, Trump fired back on Twitter, comparing the case to the impeachment proceedings he is facing.
Can’t let Brett Kavanaugh give Radical Left Democrat (Liberal Plus) Opinions based on threats of Impeaching him over made up stories (sound familiar?), false allegations, and lies. This is the game they play. Fake and Corrupt News is working overtime! #ProtectKavanaugh
A dive into the ‘deadliest wave of the opioid epidemic’ is the most frightening book of the year — and mandatory reading
First a spoiler alert: Among the multiple apocalyptic revelations in Ben Westhoff’s Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic is sour news for all hard drug users, from casual weekend abusers to full-time cocaine cowboys. In light of developments presented in this epic book in gruesome and unprecedented fashion, putting questionable substances up your nose, in your veins, or even on your tongue is highly discouraged from here on in.
“Any drug where it’s a powder or a pill, you just can’t trust it,” Westhoff said in an interview about his latest project. “There can be fentanyl in anything … [Home drug-testing kits] are getting very sophisticated, and there are websites you can consult, but in terms of going to a party and someone offering you some blow or something like that, it’s over.”
‘He didn’t do nothing’: Black kids confront white Philly cops as they terrorize innocent student at bus stop
A group of children called out Philadelphia police officers who said that they wanted the kids to be "shaking" from the confrontation.
Video posted on social media over the weekend shows a white officer telling a shirtless African-American boy to get in his police cruiser.
The video was posted by Twitter by a user named Asia who claimed to be a student waiting for her bus.
Instagram is helping this get out, but it needs more attraction. This Happened in Philadelphia,Pa on Thursday. A group of school kids and I were waiting for the bus at the bus stop when a cop car came to us, slowed down and stared at us then kept going down the street. pic.twitter.com/OrvOvWf3Oh