Judge declares a mistrial in Menendez's corruption trial

Judge declares a mistrial in Menendez's corruption trial

Judge declares a mistrial in Menendez's corruption trial

The judge in the corruption case against Sen. Bob Menendez said Thursday that it could not reach a verdict on the fourth day of deliberations since a federal judge instructed them to start their discussions from scratch.

The defense team quickly asked Walls to declare a mistrial, while prosecutors urged the judge to continue the deliberations.

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. Federal prosecutors would then decide whether to bring another case against him.

The trial ended about an hour after the jury sent a note telling the judge of the deadlock.

The trial is in its 11th week.

The bribery trial of New Jersey Sen.

So far, though, no strong primary challengers have emerged and judging by the defiant tone Menendez struck on Thursday afternoon, he seems to have no intention of stepping aside.

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The hung jury is slightly better news for Senate Democrats - at least in the short term - who no longer have to fear losing one of their members in the midst of a pitched battle in Congress over legislation backed by President Trump.

"Since well before a New Jersey grand jury returned the initial indictment in April 2015, the defendants have attempted to undermine the legitimacy of the investigation and resulting charges by repeatedly using public statements and court filings to promote unfounded claims that this case is the result of a global conspiracy led by Menendez's political opponents", the Justice Department claimed in a document outlining their evidence against Menendez.

One of the 12 jurors later told the press that two of them wanted to convict the Democratic senator, while the other 10 wanted to acquit Menendez on all counts. Menendez and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen (MEHL'-genn) were charged with running a bribery scheme between 2006 and 2013 in which Menendez traded his political influence for luxury vacations and flights on the doctor's private plane. An attorney for co-defendant Salomon Melgen asked Walls to poll the jury individually to confirm they are deadlocked. Defense attorneys objected, and the judge appeared to agree with them, saying he didn't want coerce a verdict.

The jurors returned to the courthouse Thursday to resume their discussion but quickly sent word they were at the end of their deliberating rope. She also told reporters she thought it would result in a mistrial.

Both men deny the allegations.

Newark Federal Court Judge Williams Walls announced the mistrial shortly after 1 p.m. following the second jury note in four days announcing the panel was at an impasse.

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