On Thursday, the corruption trial of Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) ended in a mistrial when 10 of 12 jurors favored acquittal, resulting in celebration on the Left. However, Sen. Menendez is not yet out of trouble.
As The Daily Caller reported, Sarah Isgur Flores, Spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, appeared on Fox News to discuss the trial. She told the Fox & Friends hosts that the DOJ will look into the case and are interested in a retrial.
Isgur Flores said, “We’re going to look at retrying that case. It’s always disappointing when you don’t win in court, but Bob Menendez was facing several felony bribery and corruption charges and those are serious allegations.”
The 10-week trial against Sen. Menendez and his co-defendant, Salomon Melgen, brought 18 felony charges against the pair for corruption. Melgen’s separate trial included Medicare fraud charges exceeding $100 million cited in the joint trial. In April, Melgen was convicted by a jury of 67 felony counts in a US District Court in Florida.
Sen. Menendez’s misdeeds include collecting campaign donations and other gifts and favors from Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, in exchange for lobbying for leniency on matters related to Medicare billing and other business interests.
One examine includes a meeting Sen. Menendez influenced with then-Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, during which Menendez advocated changing the billing practices of Medicaid and Medicare. Coincidentally, Melgen has over-billed nearly $9 million for Medicaid and Medicare patients.
Melgen donated over $750,000 to Sen. Menendez’s campaign, provided use of a private jet, and even paid for a trip to Paris for Mendendez and his girlfriend. These luxuries were seen as bribes considering Menendez’s influence on Melgen’s behalf.
Prosecutors argued that Sen. Menendez “sold his office for a lifestyle that he couldn’t afford.” However, Menendez insisted on his innocence, maintaining that the two were friends.
The jury deliberated for five days, although the latter two days followed the replacement of one juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, who said she wanted to acquit Menendez. She also told reporters that the jury was hung, and stated “If I would have stayed (on the jury), he would have been ‘not guilty’ on every charge.”
After the second time the jury announced to the judge that they could not agree on a decision, US District Court Judge William H. Walls concluded there was “no alternative to declaring a mistrial.”
“He wasn’t acquitted. This was a hung jury,” Isgur Flores noted. “The jury did think about it for several days before they decided they couldn’t come to a conclusion. So we’ll look at retrying him,” she said. “Several counts, and reaching that standard to have a grand jury indict, is pretty serious allegations,” she concluded.
After the case concluded in a mistrial, Sen. Menendez spoke to the press. “The way this case started was wrong. The way it was investigated was wrong. The way it was prosecuted was wrong. The way it was tried was wrong as well.”
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He issued a warning to those he believes were influencing the trial for political reasons. “To those who were digging my political grave so they could jump into my seat: I know who you are, and I won’t forget you.”
It’s unclear whether or not Sen. Menendez, who is up for reelection next year, will decide to resign after the legal battle. If Menendez would’ve been convicted, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) could’ve selected a replacement, likely adding another buffer to the Republican majority the Senate. That measure could be a possibility if the DOJ decides to pursue a retrial and a conviction can be had.