Jurors Deadlocked In Trial Of NJ Senator Menendez

Jurors Deadlocked In Trial Of NJ Senator Menendez

Jurors Deadlocked In Trial Of NJ Senator Menendez

Jurors in the corruption case against U.S. Sen.

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. Robert Menendez told the judge they were deadlocked Monday.

Jurors sent Walls a note saying they were not able to reach a unanimous decision on any of the 18 counts prosecutors filed against Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen, the wealthy Florida eye doctor and top Menendez donor.

On Tuesday the judge told them to "take as much time as you need".

Menendez, a Democratic senator from New Jersey, was indicted by the U.S. Justice Department in April 2015 on 14 felony counts of illegally accepting gifts and political contributions from Florida eye doctor Dr. Salomon Melgen, who's was charged with 76 counts of Medicare fraud for stealing up to $190 million from the program.

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Both men deny the allegations.

Menendez's attorney, Abbe Lowell, called for Walls to declare a mistrial, pointing out the jury had already deliberated for several days before changing jurors.

Three hours later, the jurors sent a note saying they couldn't "reach a unanimous verdict on any of the charges".

The 61-year-old resident of Hillside, N.J., also suggested that her fellow jurors had prevented her from sending a note to Walls and stalled deliberations in hopes of getting an alternate who was less dug-in on her view of the case. "They are friends. And if my friend, if I was rich and I had a lot of money and if I want to take my friend somewhere, why can't I?"

"Go home, get a breath of fresh air or rain, or whatever it may be doing out there", U.S. District Judge William H. Walls said. "Ladies and gentlemen, that is not the law".

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"The word I picked up on is that people think Menendez is being "railroaded, '" he said". 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.

Lead prosecutor Peter Koski noted the jury had only been deliberating for a few hours in its current construction. The judge likely will ask jurors individually on Monday if they saw the comments and whether they can still be impartial.

An acquittal would 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.

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

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