Politics

Justice Department Wants to Re-Try Mendendez

Comes after corruption trial last year ended in mistrial

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez was charged with taking bribes from a political donor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department said it plans to re-try Sen. Robert Menendez after his trial on corruption charges last year ended in mistrial.

Menendez was accused of accepting bribes from political donor Salomon Melgen. Judge William H. Walls declared a mistrial after individually interviewing members of the jury after it deadlocked.

“The United States files this notice of intent to retry the defendants and requests that the Court set the case for retrial at the earliest possible date,” the Justice Department said in a statement signed by Annalou Tirrol, acting chief of the public integrity section of the department.

“Defendants Robert Menendez and Salomon Melgen have been indicted for bribery and corruption by two separate grand juries properly empaneled in the District of New Jersey. The first trial ended in a mistrial with a deadlocked jury. An early retrial date is in the best interests of the public, and the United States is available to schedule a retrial at the Court’s earliest convenience,” the statement said.

Melgen was convicted last April of 67 crimes including health care fraud, submitting false claims, and falsifying records. He faces up to a life sentence in prison. Prosecutors are asking for a 30-year sentence.

Menendez's spokeswoman Patricia Enright criticized the department's decision.

"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 decided to double down on an unjust prosecution. Evidently, they did not hear the overwhelming voices of the New Jerseyans who served on the jury this fall.  Senator Menendez fully intends to be vindicated—again,” Enright said in a statement.

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