December 14, 2018

Menendez thanks jurors for 'standing up' for him

15 November 2017, 04:18 | Regina Holmes

Seth Wenig AP

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez greets supporters as he arrives to court in Newark N.J. Monday Oct. 16 2017. The judge in Menendez's corruption trial could rule on Monday to dismiss the bulk of the indictment against the New Jersey Democrat

At around 2 p.m., the jury sent a note to the judge saying they were deadlocked and could not reach a verdict on any of the charges. Bob Menendez and a wealthy donor and friend told the judge on Monday it couldn't reach a verdict on any of the 18 counts against them.

The case is U.S. v. Menendez, 15-cr-00155, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

A hung jury would punctuate the trial with a massive question mark and require the government to decide whether to try the case over again.

The jury in the bribery trial of U.S. Sen.

Menendez told reporters outside of the courthouse in Newark that he appreciates the jurors who "have been standing up for my innocence" as he has "stood up for New Jerseyans".

"It is your duty, as jurors, to consult with one another", he said. After about 20 minutes, Walls emerged and instructed the jury begin its deliberations "from scratch" with an alternate taking the place of the excused juror.

Jurors have been told repeatedly not to read reports about the case. "You are to disregard whatever you negotiated or deliberated on last week".

The jury resumed deliberations earlier Monday with an alternative, following the dismissal of Arroyo-Maultsby.

Menendez seemed buoyed by the jurors' note.

In comments widely reported last week, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, 61, of Hillside said the government had not made its case against Menendez, and claimed and three others on the panel agreed with her. On Monday, an alternate was brought in to replace her.

After jurors went to deliberate, Walls and Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell continued a running war of words over how the judge should conduct the trial. They asked for guidance. Lowell, who objected throughout the trial to rulings by Walls on the law and the evidence, filed an unsuccessful mistrial motion after testimony concluded. That ruling, which overturned the conviction of former Republican Virginia Gov. "It's always hard to convince 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt to find a defendant guilty".

"As I said two and a half years ago when I first faced these charges, I was innocent", he said.

Menendez stands accused of using his office to help co-defendant Salomon Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye doctor and longtime friend, to secure visas for his foreign girlfriends and to intervene in a lucrative port security contract in the Dominican Republic and a multimillion-dollar Medicare dispute.

Prosecutors allege Menendez and Melgen between 2006 and 2013 engaged in a bribery scheme in which Menendez traded his political influence for luxury vacations and flights on the doctor's private plane. Conversely, the charges likely would be hanging over him as he seeks re-election next year, assuming the government seeks a retrial.

In total, Menendez faces six counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, one count of conspiracy, one count of interstate travel to carry out bribery and one count of making false statements on his congressional financial disclosures to hide the crimes. Menendez also is charged with making false statements for failing to report Melgen's gifts on Senate disclosure forms.

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