Justice Department Drops Corruption Charges against NJ Senator Menendez| Feb 15, 2018
The Department of Justice announced on Jan. 31 that it does not intend to retry N.J. Sen. Robert Menendez. Judge Jose Linares dismissed counts of corruption against the senator and co-defendant Salomon Melgen, an optometrist from Fla.
This decision brings an end to federal corruption charges that have followed the senator during the past three years. In April of 2015, Menendez and Melgen were indicted on eight counts of bribery and three counts of honest services fraud, along with other charges. Prosecutors have since argued that Menendez received campaign contributions and luxury hotel stays in exchange for advocating for the doctor’s Medicare billing dispute.
A deadlocked jury failed to reach a decision this past November, but the Justice Department had made it publicly known that it intended to retry the N.J. senator until a week before it announced its final decision.
Menendez, visibly emotional while hearing the final verdict of a mistrial, thanked the jurors “who saw through the government’s false claims and used their Jersey common sense to reject it.”
Menendez has since resumed his role as a senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position he ceded when he was first indicted.
“I plan to serve as a vigilant watchdog of our nation’s diplomatic and security architecture,” he said in a statement. “Our national economy and national security are increasingly dependent on American leadership around the world, and I plan to be a forceful voice in achieving our international objectives.”
The N.J. senator no longer poses complications for the Democratic Party’s standing in the 2018 midterm elections.
In an unrelated press conference in Atlantic City, Gov. Phil Murphy expressed political support for Menendez.
“Sen. Menendez is a strong voice for N.J.,” he said. “Should he decide to seek re-election, he will have my full support.”