Justice Department seeks to toss out charges against Sen. Menendez

01 February, 2018, 00:37 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez

Menendez, 64, was charged with trading his political influence for gifts and campaign donations from Melgen, 63.

The Department of Justice moved on Wednesday to dismiss the remaining charges against Senator Robert Menendez, just weeks after prosecutors announced their intent to retry him on federal corruption charges, a decision that would allow the New Jersey Democrat to avoid running for re-election while under indictment.

"Menendez never wavered in his innocence and his commitment to the people of New Jersey", said a statement by attorney Abbe Lowell.

"Defendants request that the Court order the dismissal with prejudice and that all conditions of release imposed upon them be lifted", the lawyers replied in their own filing.

The Justice Department's announcement came nearly five years to the day after federal investigators raided Melgen's South Florida office.

Prosecutors abandoned the case after a judge last week threw out the bribery charges related to Melgen's campaign donations. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and a Florida eye doctor, a week after a New Jersey federal judge acquitted them of charges that they exchanged political donations as bribes.

"We take no pleasure in seeing justice done at this stage in a case that should never have been brought", Ogrosky said.

After the mistrial, one juror said the panel had favored acquittal on most of the 18 counts by a 10-2 margin.

Walls noted that Menendez may have been frustrated, not over Melgen's specific case, but that concerns he had voiced in 2009 over the multidosing policy at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid went unheeded.

An earlier attempt to convict the pair ended in a mistrial.

Now, Menendez will have some time to fix his standing among voters, while Republicans decide whether it's worth the trouble to find a viable challenger and launch an expensive effort to oust him in a bad year and a bad state for them.

However, the judge's decision on January 24 to drop seven of the 18 charges against the 63-year-old politician due to insufficient evidence led United States authorities to rethink their stance. Prosecutors said Melgen lavished the senator with free trips on his private jet, vacations at his villa in the Dominican Republic, a three-night stay at an upscale Paris hotel, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Prosecutors lacked smoking-gun evidence and failed to prove a corrupt bargain between the senator and the doctor, he said.



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