Bob Menendez Case Ends in Mistrial — What’s Next?

The Bob Menendez trial has essentially come to a standstill after the jurors reported twice that they were at a deadlock. As a result, a federal judge last week declared it a mistrial which is a victory for New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

On the other side, it is a big blow for the Justice Department, which has been working for years to try to go after politicians unsuccessfully. U.S. District Court Judge William Walls said on Thursday, “There’s no alternative to declaring a mistrial.”

After the decision was announced, Menendez made comments that pointed towards his goal of political vengeance.

“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,” he said. “Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot stand, or even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County could grow up to be a United States senator and be honest.”

Edward Norris, a 49 year-old equipment operator who served as a juror for the trial, provided some insight regarding the mistrial. He indicated that 10 members of the jury wanted to acquit him of the charges but there were two that were calling for conviction. he also indicated that he did not “think the government proved anything.”

The trial lasted about 2.5 months and in the end, there was no solution or decision made. Prosecutors may or may not decide to retry him in court. However, according to David Weinstein, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, it is not very likely.

“The other thing to consider is that this case was brought by a different attorney general and a different Department of Justice,” he said. “Politics has no place in the justice process … however, it does factor into it.”

He also shared his opinion that a “wise decision” was made by Walls in allowing the defense lawyers and prosecutors to sit with him as he talked to the jurors. As part of that, the information that was gathered during those parts of the trial will possibly “color the DOJ’s decision to retry the case.”

However, even though some people do not think that there will be another trial, no decision has been made on this. Until that happens, the possible case against Menendez will play a role in his decision to run for re-election next year for the Senate.

The case against him is the first time in about a decade that a federal bribery charge has been brought against someone who is currently sitting as a U.S. senator.

While things seemed to work out for the New Jersey Democrat, it is not the end. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already called on the Ethics Committee to begin investigations immediately into Menendez for any possible violations of the Senate code of conduct and public trust. He was not only accused of bribery in this case, but also accused of helping to obtain visas for girlfriends of the Florida ophthalmologist that he was accused of bribing. In return for the visa as as well as other things, the ophthalmologist is said to have paid for hotels, private jets, and about $75,000 in campaign contributions for him.

As part of the trial, the defense said that these were not bribes — but more like tokens of appreciation because the two men were “like brothers.” In fact, the closing attorney used some form of “friendship” approximately 80 times in his closing argument.

The case for this trial was very lengthy and there were a lot of twists and turns along the way. As part of the process, jurors were not supposed to read reports about the case but there were four jurors who had admitted to reading or hearing something about the trial over the weekend. Some were dismissed for various reasons, such as a family vacation, and then they were instructed to start deliberating all over again.

The federal judge for the case refused to provide the definition of a senator to the jurors when asked. The judge also denied a request for the transcript of the closing argument of Menendez’s attorney and told them to rely on their memories.

Overall, the entire thing still seems a bit shady, especially with the result of a mistrial.

~ Conservative Zone


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