Mistrial Declared In Bob Menendez Bribery Trial


The bribery trial of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, the Democrat from New Jersey, lived for another day on Thursday when a federal jury deadlocked on 12 corruption charges.

Prosecutors labeled the 63-year-old lawmaker as the "personal senator" to Florida ophthalmologist, Dr. Salomon Melgen, who is also on trial.

But Menendez's problems will not end at the US courthouse in Newark, New Jersey, even if he is tried again.

Jurors deliberated for almost 15 hours but could not reach the requisite unanimous decision after nine weeks of testimony.

In a note sent to out shortly before noon, jurors said they were unable to reach a verdict.

"We can not reach a unanimous decision, " the note said, according to The Washington Post.

Though we don't yet have a full sense of the deliberations, the New Jersey lawmaker likely benefited from the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreeing past year to make it more hard to convict politicians on corruption charges in U.S. v. McDonnell.

Jurors said they "reviewed all the evidence slowly, thoroughly and in great detail".

The announcement came hours after an alternate juror joined the group.

One juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, was excused from the trial last week because of a previous engagement.

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Only one sitting senator is now under indictment, and as of this afternoon, the effort to prosecute him came up short. Yet throughout the trial, Menendez refused to say he would step down if convicted.

Weighing on the case was a 2016 Supreme Court ruling overturning the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov.

Federal prosecutors have the option to retry the case, as a mistrial does not invoke "double jeopardy".

Menendez got trips on the doctor's private jet, vacations in Paris and the Dominican Republic and $750,000 in campaign contributions, the government argued in the court proceedings.

Prosecutors also claimed that Mr Menendez secured visas for Dr Melgen's former girlfriends and helped lobby USA officials on a port security contract the doctor owned in the Dominican Republic.

Menendez reciprocated by aiding Melgen's business interests, prosecutors added, including helping him with a Medicare billing dispute and obtaining visas for foreign women described as Melgen's girlfriends.

Lawyers for Menendez cast the lack of disclosures as an oversight - that the flights simply slipped between the cracks. Bob Menendez after jurors said they were again deadlocked in the case.

And Democrats said they were ready to welcome Menendez back with open arms. "They're like brothers to each other".

The mistrial means federal prosecutors will have to consider a new trial.

"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.