Justice Department Won't Retry Sen. Menendez After Corruption Case Mistrial

Katrina Barker
February 1, 2018

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday asked a judge to dismiss an indictment charging U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez on corruption charges that ended in a hung jury last fall, lifting the legal cloud hanging over the New Jersey Democrat as he gears up for re-election this year.

After an 11-week trial in Newark previous year, a jury failed to reach a verdict on any of the counts against either man.

Though Melgen was convicted a year ago of a almost $9 million Medicare fraud, prosecutors said Menendez had tried to make the case go away by reaching out to top officials at the Department of Health and Human Services, including the agency's secretary at the time, Kathleen Sebelius.

"Given the impact of the court's January 24 order on the charges and the evidence admissible in a retrial, the United States has determined that it will not retry the defendants on the remaining charges", said Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department.

This story is breaking and will be updated. The doctor, Salomon Melgen, was also charged in the case.

Mr. Menendez had claimed he was vindicated after the mistrial - even though he remained under indictment - and was quick to celebrate Wednesday's decision.

"Menendez never wavered in his innocence and his commitment to the people of New Jersey", said a statement by attorney Abbe Lowell. "I am grateful that the Department of Justice has taken the time to reevaluate its case and come to the appropriate conclusion".

Now, Menendez will have some time to fix his standing among voters, while Republicans decide whether it's worth the trouble to find a viable challenger and launch an expensive effort to oust him in a bad year and a bad state for them. He did not ever give anything to his best friend of over 20 years with an expectation that he would get something in return.

The charges against Melgen were also dropped. "We hope that the Department of Justice lives up to its name and never brings this type of meritless case again".

Walls' decision came days after the Justice Department said earlier this month that it meant to retry Menendez after Walls declared a mistrial in the corruption case in November.

The senator's attorneys contended Melgen's gifts were tokens of friendship, not bribes, and argued that Menendez's meetings with executive branch officials were focused on broader policy issues than just Melgen's business interests.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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