After six days of jury deliberations the felony corruption trial against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has ended in a mistrial.
U.S. District Judge William Walls declared a mistrial Thursday afternoon after the jury passed him a note saying that they could not reach a unanimous decision. One juror said the jury was deadlocked with 10 jurors who wanted to acquit the Democratic senator and two who thought he was guilty, according to ABC News.
Prosecutors say Menendez accepted bribes from his co-defendant, a wealthy eye-doctor and deep-pocketed benefactor who was convicted of Medicare fraud earlier this year for over billing the U.S. government –and taxpayers– up to $105 million. Justice Department officials allege that Menendez lobbied the State Department to get visas for his married friend’s alleged mistresses and pushed top officials to drop the fraud investigation. In exchange, Menendez allegedly received luxury vacations, trips aboard a private plane, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from his co-defendant, Salamon Melgen.
On the first day of deliberations, a juror asked Walls: “What is a Senator?” The judge refused to answer. On Monday, a juror who was dismissed from the trial told media outlets that the jury was deadlocked, with a majority of the jurors leaning towards an acquittal. She also told reporters she thought it would result in a mistrial. As it turns out, her prediction was spot on.
The DOJ will likely refile charges against Menendez, putting him on trial again. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has called for an ethics investigation into the New Jersey senator’s actions that led to the indictment.
In a press conference following the news of the mistrial, Menendez said he would “not forget” those who he says tried to use the trial against him in order to gain his Senate seat.
Sen. Menendez: "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." pic.twitter.com/UUWORGwWQL
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) November 16, 2017
In a recent pol, 84 percent of his constituents said they wanted him to resign office if he was convicted. Not a single Democratic senator repudiated Menendez on the record.