The Division of Justice introduced Friday it intends to retry New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, two months after a federal choose declared a mistrial within the high-profile bribery case.
“As we speak, the USA filed a discover of intent to retry Sen. Robert Menendez and Dr. Salomon Melgen and requested that the courtroom set the case for retrial on the earliest doable date,” Division of Justice spokesperson Wyn Hornbuckle mentioned in a press release. “The conduct alleged within the indictment is critical and warrants retrial earlier than a jury of residents within the District of New Jersey. “
Hornbuckle mentioned the choice to retry the case was “primarily based on the info and the regulation, following a cautious assessment.”
“We remorse that the DOJ, after spending hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer , and failing to show a single allegation in a courtroom of regulation, has determined to double down on an unjust prosecution,” in response to a press release launch by Menendez’ workplace. “Evidently, they didn’t hear the overwhelming voices of the New Jerseyans who served on the jury this fall. Senator Menendez totally intends to be vindicated — once more.”
In November, a federal choose declared a mistrial after jurors twice reported they have been hopelessly deadlocked.
“There’s no different to declaring a mistrial,” U.S. District Court docket Choose William Partitions mentioned on the time.
The mistrial was seen as a serious victory for Menendez and a blow to the Justice Division whose efforts to go after politicians lately haven’t been profitable.
Exterior the courthouse after the mistrial, an emotional Menendez made clear that he could be out for political vengeance.
“Sure parts of the FBI and of our state can not stand, and even worse, settle for that the Latino child from Union Metropolis and Hudson County might develop as much as be a United States senator and be trustworthy,” mentioned the 63-year-old son of Cuban immigrants.
Juror Edward Norris, a 49-year-old gear operator, advised reporters he didn’t “assume the federal government proved something.”
Norris advised reporters that 10 folks on the jury wished to acquit Menendez of all costs whereas two held out for conviction.
The mistrial introduced an inconclusive finish to the two-and-a-half month trial.
However Former federal and state corruption prosecutor Daniel Alonzo advised Fox Information he is not shocked by the DOJ announcement.
“This choice isn’t a surprise. The federal government believed in its case when it introduced the costs, believed in it when it went to the jury, and clearly believes in it now. Though it’s not at all times the case, retrials normally favor the prosecution, which makes use of the expertise of the primary trial to attempt to repair weaknesses within the case and anticipate protection arguments the second time round.
Menendez is up for re-election to the U.S. Senate this 12 months.
Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell has referred to as on the Ethics Committee to analyze Menendez for doable violations of the general public belief and the Senate code of conduct.
The case in opposition to Menendez marked the primary time in virtually a decade sitting U.S. senator confronted a federal bribery cost.
Based on the prison grievance, Menendez greased wheels for Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist.
Amongst different issues, Menendez was accused of serving to receive visas for a number of of Melgen’s girlfriends in addition to foyer the State Division on his behalf relating to a $500 million port safety contract within the Dominican Republic.
Melgen, in flip, paid for personal jets, lodge rooms and forked over practically $75,000 in marketing campaign contributions to Menendez.
The protection argued that the items weren’t bribes however tokens of friendship between two males who have been “like brothers.”
In Menendez legal professional Abbe Lowell’s closing argument, he used the phrases “good friend,” “mates” or “friendship” greater than 80 occasions.
The Menendez case was the primary main federal bribery trial because the U.S. Supreme Court docket in 2016 threw out the conviction of Republican former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and narrowed the definition of bribery.