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Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has escaped the long arm of the law, at least for now. The judge in Menendez’s corruption case has declared a mistrial after the jury announced they were deadlocked a second time and could not reach a verdict.
Prosecutors could choose to retry the case, but for now, Menendez has gotten away with a host of crimes.
The mistrial means any prospect of Bob Menendez having to give up his Senate seat due to a conviction appear dead, for now.
In a major blow to federal prosecutors, Newark federal Judge William Walls declared a mistrial in the Garden State legislator’s high-profile bribery case Thursday after the 12-person jury said it was deadlocked for a second time this week.
“We have reviewed all the evidence slowly, thoroughly and in great detail,” the jury said in a note it sent to the judge around 11:35 a.m. in the midst of its fourth day of deliberations.
“We have each tried to look at this case from different viewpoints but still feel strongly in our positions, nor are we willing to move away from our strong convictions.”
A mistrial spares the Garden State Democrat from both prison and the prospect of losing his US Senate seat — for now.
The Department of Justice could still retry the case, but a spokesman for the Washington, DC, office handling the case did not return a request for comment on their plans.
Just before the judge declared a mistrial, Menendez entered the courtroom from the judge’s chamber with a big smile on his face and then hugged his grown children.
Prosecutors spent weeks trying to prove that Menendez, 63, accepted lavish bribes — including all-expenses-paid vacations and private jet flights — from his rich doctor pal and co-defendant Salomon Melgen in exchange for using his office to help Melgen with his personal and business affairs, including securing visas for his young girlfriends.
But lawyers for Menedez and Melgen, who was convicted of Medicare fraud earlier this year, argued that the gifts and favors arose from their 20-year friendship — not from a corrupt agreement.