After walking away from his corruption charges due to a mistrial, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is confident his legal problems are over.
As the Washington Examiner reports, the New Jersey lawmaker says the Department of Justice (DOJ) should decide whether to retry him within the next month. But if they don’t, Menendez plans to use a federal statute governing timely justice to force the department’s hand.
“Either prosecute or dismiss,” Menendez said in an interview Thursday. “If you want to prosecute, bring it on.”
Menendez refused to divulge the identities of political opponents whom he has previously blamed for his prosecution. He expects to return to business as usual in the Senate if the DOJ dismisses the case.
Menendez and his doctor Salome Melgen were both up on bribery charges, but the jury voted 10-2 in favor of acquittal. The prosecution claimed that Menendez received multiple gifts from Melgen for the quid pro quo that he would perform political favors for the doctor.
But Menendez, who attributed the investigation to racism, is heartened by the number of jurors who believed him innocent and believes this is “the end of it.” Menendez maintains his non-disclosure of gifts was merely an oversight.
“They didn’t believe in the facts, they had some really harsh words for the government,” Menendez said. “You can have a hung jury that’s 10-2 against you and two people just couldn’t agree, but when it’s 10-2 for you — and it’s not just the numbers, it’s what they said about the government’s case — I believe that’s the end of it.”
As well as citing racial motives for his prosecution, Menendez suggested that his political enemies were after him and darkly suggested he would remember their attempts to crush his political ambition.
“For those who were digging my political grave so they could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won’t forget it,” said Menendez.
On Thursday, Menendez refused to reveal the identities of these conspirators, only saying, “I know who they are, they know who they are, and they know I know who they are — and that’s all that matters.”
The senator is confident he’ll be back at work as the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee if the DOJ decides to stay the charges against him.
“I have a commitment from the leadership — the leadership that exists today — that upon a successful conclusion that I will return,” he said,