Federal Prosecutors Announce Plans to Retry Senator Menendez
- Author: Ryan Wade Jan 20, 2018,
Jan 20, 2018, 5:22
Prosecutors said Friday that they plan to retry U.S. Sen.
Robert Menendez back on trial on corruption charges, according to a new court filing Friday, following a mistrial past year in which most jurors wanted to acquit the lawmaker. If they wanted to, he said, they should "bring it on".
The hung jury in the first trial voted 10 to 2 to acquit Menendez, suggesting they did not believe the prosecution's case as it was presented.
Annalou Tirol, acting chief of the public integrity section of the Justice Department, announced that the trial would take place as soon as possible.
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In exchange, prosecutors charged, the New Jersey Democrat helped Melgen's foreign mistresses secure visas, intervened in a multimillion-dollar Medicare dispute and pressured USA officials to safeguard a lucrative port security contract in the Dominican Republic.
The U.S. Justice Department indicted Menendez in April 2015 on 14 felony counts of illegally accepting gifts and political contributions from Florida eye doctor Dr. Salomon Melgen who was charged with 76 counts of Medicare fraud for stealing up to $190 million from the program.
The retrial could become a major headache for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.
Mr. Menendez's office did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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"We regret that the DOJ, after spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, and failing to prove a single allegation in a court of law, has chose to double down on an unjust prosecution", the statement said. "Menendez fully intends to be vindicated - again". Defense lawyers discounted the notion that Menendez accepted bribes from Melgen by citing the two men's long-running friendship.
November's mistrial was a serious blow to the Justice Department, which has investigated Menendez for almost five years.
Menendez hailed the mistrial as a victory.
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