Published: Sun, November 19, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Judge declares mistrial in Senator Bob Menendez federal corruption trial

Judge declares mistrial in Senator Bob Menendez federal corruption trial

Mr Menendez and his co-defendant, Dr Salomon Melgen, deny the allegations. While saying they had "reviewed all the evidence slowly, thoroughly and in great detail", they concluded: "We can not reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges, nor are we willing to move away from our strong convictions".

He interviewed each of the jurors individually in his chambers.

Ed Norris, a 49-year-old Morris County resident who was one of the jurors, spoke with the press after the jury was dismissed. "I think he went through hell with this, and that's enough. You can't get mad over it".

Jurors sent a note to US District Judge William Walls shortly before noon local time on Thursday stating that they reviewed the evidence "slowly and thoroughly and in great detail", but remained deadlocked after a week of deliberations. Unable to reach an agreement, the judge said today he had "no alternative but to declare a mistrial".

"The idea of seeking partial verdicts becomes a little mischievous in the context of the note because then we reach a point where we may be sliding down the slope to coercion", Walls said. Yet throughout the trial, Menendez refused to say he would step down if convicted.

In fact, prosecutors said that Menendez took many more trips on Melgen's plane that he did not disclose and never paid for. "I can't truly thank you".

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Speaking outside the courthouse following the judge's announcement, Menendez criticized federal prosecutors and thanked the jury "who saw through the government's false claims".

Declining to field questions, he also issued a warning for his political enemies.

"To those of you who were digging my political grave so you could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won't forget you", he said.

On Thursday afternoon, after the mistrial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he favored the Senate ethics investigation into Menendez.

Photo Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey outside Federal District Court in Newark on Thursday.

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.

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Phil Murphy, the governor-elect, praised Menendez in a statement.

Only one sitting senator is now under indictment, and as of this afternoon, the effort to prosecute him came up short.

Indeed, Menendez today seemed very much like a candidate who intends to seek another term, and his odds of success aren't bad.

The U.S. Justice Department must now decide whether it wants to re-try the case.

"The way this case started was wrong, the way it was investigated was wrong, the way it was prosecuted was wrong and the way it was tried was wrong as well", he said.

Now, the Ethics Committee is not impeded. They act in a nonpartisan way, and let them look at it.

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