Why Menendez Case is 'Uphill Battle' for Prosecutors
- Author: Joey Payne Sep 07, 2017,
Sep 07, 2017, 1:56
Robert Menendez, D-N.J., begins on Wednesday, the first time a US senator faces bribery charges in almost four decades and a case that could affect the balance of power in the Senate, NBC News reported.
Prosecutors allege that Menendez used his Senate office to help out Salomon Melgen - a long time friend and donor - in exchange for lavish gifts, including a stay at a luxury hotel in Paris and trips on the doctor's private jet to his villa in the Dominican Republic.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) leaving the podium after speaking to the media during a news conference in Newark, New Jersey, April 1, 2015. Two-thirds of senators would need to vote him out of the upper chamber, meaning that 15 Democratic lawmakers would have to side with the 52-seat Republican majority. The New Jersey Democrat was in court for the start of his corruption trial.
In exchange, Menendez pressed government officials to help his doctor friend, who will also be on trial, with his business and personal affairs - including procuring USA visas for Melgen's three young girlfriends, the feds have said.
On the same day that a $300,000 check from Melgen arrived at a Menendez political-action committee June 7, 2012, Menendez met with CMS's highest-ranking official and pressed the agency to "change the reimbursement policy leading to the $8.9 million repayment demand", the feds say.
Booker and fellow Democrats from New Jersey and beyond have stood by Menendez, who denies the corruption allegations he is charged with. "The Constitution also gives me the right to cast a vote on behalf of the people I represent in the United States Senate", said Menendez Wednesday. Walls chided defense attorneys for filing a motion on what to include in jury instructions at the end of the trial. If convicted, it could have major implications in the Republican-controlled Senate. If he leaves the Senate before Gov. Chris Christie leaves office January 16, the Republican governor would pick a successor.
Opening statements are set to begin in the corruption trial of U.S. Sen.
Lawyer Raymond Brown criticized Judge William Walls over a line in his opinion last week that rejected the senator's request for the case to be adjourned on days when the Senate has "critical" votes scheduled. Bob Menendez and a wealthy friend. Individually and through his company, Melgen also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Menendez's legal defense fund and entities that supported his re-election. If he loses, things could get really interesting.