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

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

US prosecutors told a judge they want to drop a federal corruption case against Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, with corruption, acknowledging that recent court rulings left them with a weakened case.

Prosecutors, citing the judge's decision, said they would move to dismiss the grand jury indictment of Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and his codefendant, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen.

"From the very beginning, I never wavered in my innocence and my belief that justice would prevail", Menendez said in a written statement. "I am grateful that the Department of Justice has taken the time to reevaluate its case and come to the appropriate conclusion". "I thank God for hearing my prayers and for giving me strength during this hard time", the senator said.

He and Melgen were accused of conspiracy, bribery, and honest services fraud, among other charges. The retrial had been assigned to U.S. District Judge Jose Linares.

Prosecutors filed a motion with the court on Wednesday to throw out the case after a judge threw out some of the counts last week.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that they would dismiss the remaining corruption charges against U.S. Sen.

Sebelius testified previous year during the trial that it was unusual for her to be involved in a billing dispute, and another staffer testified that Menendez had become angry during the meeting when the matter was not resolved.

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Even if he had been convicted and forced to step down, the seat would likely have remained in Democratic hands because it would be filled by New Jersey's new Democratic governor, Phil Murphy.

Walls noted that Menendez may have been frustrated, not over Melgen's specific case, but that concerns he had voiced in 2009 over the multidosing policy at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid went unheeded.

In a statement, Melgen's attorney Kirk Ogrosky said his client "is now and has always been innocent". "We hope that the Department of Justice lives up to its name and never brings this type of meritless case again".

After last fall's trial ended, one juror told reporters the jury was split 10-2 on all counts in favor of acquittal. He said that prosecutors failed to persuade him that the men had engaged in bribery.

Walls also noted that the 2012 meeting with Sebelius ended Menendez's advocacy on behalf of Melgen. Prosecutors said Melgen lavished the senator with free trips on his private jet, vacations at his villa in the Dominican Republic, a three-night stay at an upscale Paris hotel, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. "There were no wiretaps, conversations, videos or cooperating witnesses". Such requests from prosecutors to drop charges are nearly always granted.

The Justice Department has dropped all charges against New Jersey Sen.

Attorneys for Menendez argued that interbranch lobbying - a senator talking with an appointed department head - could not form the basis of an official act for the purposes of proving quid pro quo.



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