The move Wednesday now lifts a cloud of legal suspicion that has long hung above Menendez, a high-ranking Democratic senator who is up for re-election in the fall. Bob Menendez are being dropped by the Justice Department. "I am thankful that God has answered my prayers".
Senator Bob Menendez speaks to journalists after arriving to face trial for federal corruption charges as his daughter Alicia Menendez looks on outside United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., September 6, 2017. Eleven charges remained, including bribery, fraud and conspiracy. The retrial had been assigned to U.S. District Judge Jose Linares.
"Given the impact of the Court's January 24 order on the charges and the evidence admissible in a retrial, the United States has determined that it will not retry the defendants on the remaining charges", DOJ spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman said. Three Republicans are vying to oust the Democrat from his seat.
The 64-year-old Menendez was charged with trading his political influence for gifts and campaign donations from Salomon Melgen, 63, a Florida eye doctor.
The move to dismiss charges is a complete reversal from the position taken by prosecutors just two weeks earlier, when they filed notice to the court they meant to keep pursuing the case after the first trial ended in a hung jury.
Melgen was convicted earlier in a separate case in Florida about the Medicare billing, and is awaiting sentencing.
In a statement, Melgen's attorney Kirk Ogrosky said his client "is now and has always been innocent".
Menendez, in turn, allegedly tried to help Melgen get United States visas for his girlfriends, brought his influence to bear in an $8.9 million billing dispute with Medicare and helped out with a port security contract in the Dominican Republic. "We hope that this type of meritless case is never again brought by DOJ".
Jurors told reporters as many as 10 members of the panel were in favor of acquittal on all counts, leading many to speculate the government wouldn't pursue a retrial. He said that prosecutors failed to persuade him that the men had engaged in bribery. Both defendants have denied any wrongdoing, arguing the gifts were merely evidence of their close friendship. Ted Stevens of Alaska and former Virginia Gov. He also faced a false-statements count.
Feds to retry Sen. "There were no wiretaps, conversations, videos or cooperating witnesses". Such requests from prosecutors to drop charges are nearly always granted.
The retreat on the Menendez case marks a setback for public integrity prosecutors at the Justice Department, as legal experts have questioned whether their authority to pursue such cases will be more limited in the wake of the Menendez mistrial and an earlier Supreme Court ruling. "This is the way things work in Washington".
Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell, who clashed often with prosecutors and Judge Walls during the trial, said the Justice Department "made the right decision to end this case" and that Menendez never wavered in his innocence.