Mistrial Declared in Corruption Trial of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez

Still Deadlocked: Jury Says They're Divided In Menendez's Corruption Trial

Sen. Bob Menendez's bribery trial has ended in a mistrial after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked on the charges against the Democrat and his co-defendant.

The trial ultimately lasted 11 weeks and could have had huge political ramifications if Menendez was found guilty.

Menendez said he felt vindicated.

"The way this case started was wrong", said Menendez, flanked by his grown children. "Certain elements of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and of our state cannot understand or, even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County can grow up and be a USA senator and be honest".

The trial, which started September 6, thrust Menendez into the middle of a national debate about some of the thorniest questions in politics, such as what is an appropriate friendship with a politician and what type of influence money can, or should be able to, buy. "To those who embraced me in my darkest moment, I love you".

"I find that you are unable to reach a verdict and that further deliberations would be futile and there is no alternative but to declare a mistrial", he said.

Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, immediately called for the Senate's ethics committee to investigate the allegations against Menendez. Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell counters that "acting out of friendship is not a crime" and that Menendez's meetings with government officials were "what members of Congress do". "His trial shed light on serious accusations of violating the public's trust as an elected official, as well as potential violations of the Senate's Code of Conduct".

Menendez, 63, a longtime fixture in the state's political circles who first joined the Senate in 2006, was accused of accepting private flights, campaign contributions and other bribes from a wealthy patron, Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, in exchange for official favors.

Both Menendez and his friend Doctor Salomon Melgen were being tried together. The federal judge presiding over the case, William Walls, decided not to toss any of the 18 corruption charges brought against him prior to jury deliberation. They reported back Thursday that they remained unable to reach a verdict.

Judge William Walls declared the mistrial after interviewing all 12 jurors. The jury then retires to resume deliberations.

The trial is in its 11th week.

The instruction reminds jurors of the time, effort, and resources expended over the course of the prosecution, and asks jurors in the minority to reconsider the reasonableness of their positions. "It's all about why it happened".

It is possible for Menendez to face trial again, but for now, it seems he is off the hook.

According to prosecutors, Melgen essentially put Menendez on the payroll and made the politician his "personal senator", available as needed.

The jury deliberated for three full days last week before a juror was excused to take a long-planned vacation. Cory Booker (D) who spoke on his behalf and said Booker could "easily" go on to serve his country "in the highest of all of the land". "I know there's a few that feel the same way I do, and they're going to hold their own".

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