Mistrial Declared in Menendez Trial After Several Days of Jury Deadlock
Mistrial Declared in Menendez Trial After Several Days of Jury Deadlock
Jurors at Sen. Bob Menendez trial report deadlock
16 November, 2017, 22:52
- November 16, 2017: Mistrial is declared as the jury says it is hopelessly deadlocked on all charges.
With the jury hung, Judge William Walls declared a mistrial, which throughout deliberations he was strongly opposed to.
The deliberations were re-started midway after one juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, had to be replaced by an alternate because of a vacation she had informed the judge about in advance. Menendez, 63, was charged with accepting luxury vacations, flights on Melgen's private jet and other gifts in exchange for using his political influence to help Melgen.
They accused Menendez of pushing officials to help resolve an $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute in Melgen's favor, while the defense team claimed at trial that the senator was focused on the fact that the billing policies at issue were conflicting and the drug companies were enjoying a windfall.
U.S. District Judge William Walls said that asking the jurors to continue their debate - even for a possible partial verdict - seemed like a "futile exercise" that could lead down a "slippery slope of coercion".
Menendez spoke with reporters on the matter after the judge's announcement.
- September 12: Two of Melgen's alleged foreign girlfriends testify about Menendez's role in their USA visa applications, part of the government's charge that he interceded on their behalf in exchange for Melgen's bribes. "They are just trying to throw a good man under the bus".
Menendez defense lawyer Abbe Lowell told the judge, "I think we have to declare a mistrial".
The jury said they couldn't reach a unanimous verdict on any of the 18 counts in the indictment against the New Jersey Democrat and a wealthy friend.
After a story appears on a conservative website, federal authorizes investigate rumors that Menendez and Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen consorted with prostitutes at Melgen's home in the Dominican Republic. The judge will privately interview the jury foreman then make a decision. Conversely, the charges likely would be hanging over him as he seeks re-election next year, assuming the government seeks a retrial.
Walls could have instructed the jury it is allowed to reach a verdict on some counts but not others, though that type of instruction typically would have followed a note from the jury inquiring about that option.
In total, Menendez faced 12 felony counts, including six counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, one count of conspiracy and one count of interstate travel to carry out bribery.
He thanked New Jersey Sen.
Prosecutors argued that Menendez tried to pressure HHS, State, and Customs officials on Melgen's behalf in specific meetings and interactions.
Jurors also failed to reach the unanimous conclusion that Menendez had "knowingly and willfully" falsified his annual disclosure forms in an attempt to hide the gifts from Melgen, an allegation in the last count of the indictment against the men.
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