Politics

DOJ Lets Menendez Off The Hook

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Jack Crowe Political Reporter

Government prosecutors announced Wednesday they will not retry New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez on corruption charges just one week after a federal judge threw out a number of the charges that remained after his November mistrial.

Menedez and his co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen, were acquitted in mid-January on seven of 18 counts stemming from a questionable relationship, which prosecutors alleged constituted a quid pro quo in which Menendez provided political help in exchange for lavish trips financed by Melgen. Though the seven bribery charges were throw out, 11 counts, including bribery, fraud and conspiracy, remained as of Wednesday.

“In light of the Court’s January 24, 2018 Opinion and Order and pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48(a), the United States of America moves to dismiss the Superseding Indictment,” Annalou Tirol, the acting head of the Justice Department’s public integrity division, wrote in a motion to dismiss the indictment.

The jury deadlocked in November, prompting the presiding judge to declare a mistrial after Menendez spent years fighting the charges. Menedez expressed gratitude and said he felt vindicated following the mistrial.

“The way this case started was wrong, the way it was investigated was wrong, the way it was prosecuted was wrong and the way it was tried was wrong as well,” Menendez told reporters outside the courthouse. “Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot understand or, even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County can grow up and be a US senator and be honest.”

Menedez and Melgen’s defense attorneys argued the pair were friends and any favors exchanged were in that vein.

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