On Wednesday, prosecutors rested their case in the ongoing federal corruption trail against Sen. Bob Menendez. Justice Department officials say the Democratic senator took bribes in the form of luxury vacations, private plane rides, and campaign donations from a wealthy eye doctor. In exchange, prosecutors allege Menendez lobbied government officials and even tried to make a fraud investigation disappear on his wealthy benefactor’s behalf.
Menendez and his co-defendant — Salomon Melgen, who was convicted of Medicare fraud earlier this year for his role in the alleged scheme — both say they are innocent. Defense lawyers are reportedly going to ask the judge to dismiss the case before it goes to the jury. It is unclear at this time if the defense will call any of its own witnesses or if Menenedez himself will testify if the judge denies their request, according to Bloomberg.
The outcome of the case could have major political implications. If Menendez is found guilty, 84 percent of his constituents want him to resign from office. If his Senate seat is vacated, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could chose a Republican to replace him — which would shift the U.S. Senate.
Broadcast TV networks have paid little attention to the corruption case. Since the trial began, ABC, CBS, and NBC have spent a grand total of 2 minutes and 10 seconds in their morning and evening news coverage on the ongoing trial against Menendez. A Media Research Center analysis found CBS spent a total of 22 seconds on the trial, ABC dedicated 1 minute and 48 seconds to it, while NBC has spent no time covering it.
A news report summarizing the analysis was published September 20, but the numbers remain the same. None of the broadcast networks have covered the trial at all in their morning and evening news coverage since the findings of the study were published last month, according to Mike Ciandella of the Media Research Center.
You can listen to an in-depth discussion of the ongoing trial here.