A mistrial is a major victory for a senator who had to fight 18 counts of alleged corruption, and a setback for the Justice Department, whose efforts to combat public corruption have been curtailed by a recent Supreme Court decision. Bob Menendez ended in a mistrial Thursday when the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked on all charges against the New Jersey politician and a wealthy donor. Bob Menendez after jurors said they were again deadlocked in the case.
"We have each tried to look at this case from different viewpoints but still feel strongly in our positions, nor are we willing to move away from our strong convictions", the jury wrote, according to Lowell.
In exchange, Melgen showered the senator with gifts such as luxury vacations and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign support, prosecutors said.
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.
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.
Neither took the witness stand during the 11-week trial, which included more than 55 witnesses, from Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to plane pilots. Both men denied the allegations.
- September 6: The trial of Melgen and Menendez begins in Newark, New Jersey.
- September 12: Two of Melgen's alleged foreign girlfriends testify about Menendez's role in their US visa applications, part of the government's charge that he interceded on their behalf in exchange for Melgen's bribes.
It was not immediately clear whether the Justice Department would seek to retry Menendez, who is running for re-election next year.
The trial against Menendez, a Democrat, was the first in 36 years to involve a sitting senator facing federal bribery charges, the most serious of which carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence.
He thanked New Jersey Sen.
U.S. District Judge William Walls declared a hung jury after more than six full days of deliberations that had to be re-started midway through when a juror was replaced. He is also charged with making false statements for not reporting the gifts on Senate disclosure forms.
He had his staffers help get tourist or student visas for three of Melgen's foreign girlfriends.
- January 2016: Menendez argues to have the indictment thrown out in filings to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, writing that his meetings with government officials allegedly to advance Melgen's business interests were protected by the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause.
The jury deliberated most of last week, then restarted on Monday with an alternate after a member was excused because of a long-planned vacation. Until Thursday, the jury had not sent another note or question to the court.
The bribery trial of Sen.