The Justice Department dismissed its case against New Jersey Democrat Senator Robert Menendez, and will not re-try:
Justice Department drops corruption case against Menendez. The decision comes a week after a federal judge acquitted Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen on seven of the 18 counts.
The decision is a major victory for Menendez and the Democratic Party, which was facing the prospect of having the 12-year incumbent facing a corruption trial while running for what should be one of its safest Senate seats.
It also comes a week after Judge William Walls damaged the prosecution’s case by acquitting Menendez and [Solomon] Melgen on seven of the 18 corruption counts they had faced during a two-and-a-half-month trial last fall. The trial ended in a hung jury, with one juror telling reporters that 10 of the 12 members of the panel favored acquittal on most counts.
. . .
Menendez was charged in 2015 with doing official favors for Melgen in exchange for private jet flights, lavish vacations — including luxury hotel stays — and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Federal prosecutors also charged Menendez with willfully leaving Melgen’s gifts off his Senate financial disclosure forms.
Menendez had gone against the Obama administration’s key foreign policy regarding the Iran deal and Cuba, Russia, and also in his
support of dissidents from countries other than Cuba: He vigorously supports the State of Israel against Iran-sponsored Hamas in Gaza, which also figures in his support of international sanctions against the Iranian nuclear program – sanctions that Ecuador and Venezuela attempt to help Iran avoid. And, by the way, last year the story was that Menendez was allegedly helping a pair of Ecuadorian fugitive bankers.
The “Ecuadorian fugitive bankers” are brothers William and Roberto Isaías, who fled Ecuador ten years ago after the government allegedly confiscated media outlets they owned which were critical of the government. They are here legally.
Last November a judge declared a mistrial over a deadlocked jury.
For now, Menendez is off the hook.
He’s expected to run for reelection in November.
I’ve been following the Menendez-Melgen story from the start here and here.
Cross-posted at WoW! Magazine.