Jurors Deadlocked In Trial Of NJ Senator Menendez


In a note passed to Walls Monday, the jury, comprised of five women and seven men, indicated that it had reached a deadlock.

Menendez, a Democrat and New Jersey's senior senator, is charged with advocating for Melgen's business interests with top US government officials in exchange for vacations in the Dominican Republic, private jet flights, hotel stays, a auto service and about $750,000 in political contributions.

U.S. District Judge William Walls sent them home early and told them to try again on Tuesday.

Jurors say they are deadlocked in the bribery trial of U.S. Sen.

In total, Menendez faces six counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, one count of conspiracy, one count of interstate travel to carry out bribery and one count of making false statements on his congressional financial disclosures to hide the crimes. Both men maintain their innocence. The excused juror subsequently spoke to the press and said she believes the panel will end in a hung jury. The judge instructed them to "have a good meal and good sleep" and return Tuesday.

Arroyo-Maultsby was dismissed so she could go on a pre-arranged vacation.

"What I saw in the courtroom was that he was not guilty of all counts; so was Dr. Melgen", Arroyo-Maultsby said on Thursday following her dismissal.

If the newly constituted panel fails to reach a verdict over the next several days, the judge would have to weigh how long to let it continue before declaring a mistrial. "If I was rich and if I had a lot of money and I want to take my friend somewhere, why can't I?"

Earlier Monday, the judge had paused deliberations to take time to individually question a number of jurors who had admitted to either reading or hearing something about the case over the weekend.

A prosecutor accused the defense of using a strategy of "distraction and misdirection" and said the two men's friendship doesn't mean they weren't involved in bribery. After about 20 minutes, Walls emerged and instructed the jury begin its deliberations "from scratch" with an alternate taking the place of the excused juror. The rest of the jury deliberated for approximately 16 hours last week. The jurors said they were unable to reach a unanimous decision any of the charges.

If her account was an accurate reflection of the dynamic inside the jury room, a deadlocked jury might be the best outcome prosecutors could hope for, said Dan R. Alonso, managing director at global compliance firm Exiger and a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn.

A mistrial could partly reinforce the view that official bribery cases have become more hard to prosecute, a trend traced to last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned the bribery conviction of former Republican Virginia Gov.

"The law doesn't change because a jury decides that on these facts, the government didn't prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt", Alonso said.

Neither side commented on Arroyo-Maultsby's comments Friday.