Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of Florida celebrated the news that jurors could not reach a verdict in his trial over corruption accusations, but he’s not out of the woods just yet.
AnnaLou Tirol, the acting chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, released a statement Friday declaring the intent of the government to keep pursuing corruption charges against Senator Menendez.
“The United States files this notice of intent to retry the defendants and requests that the Court set the case for retrial at the earliest possible date,” reads the statement.
“Defendants Robert Menendez and Salomon Melgen have been indicted for bribery and corruption by two separate grand juries properly impaneled in the District of New Jersey,” she added. “The first trial ended in a mistrial with a deadlocked jury.”
“An early retrial date is in the best interests of the public, and the United States is available to schedule a retrial at the Court’s earliest convenience,” the statement concluded.
Why was the first trial unsuccessful?
Menendez’ trial was declared a mistrial in November when jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict. “I find that you are unable to reach a verdict and that further deliberations would be futile and there is no alternative but to declare a mistrial,” the judge said at the time.
Menendez was on trial for 11 charges of bribery and one of filing false reports. He was accused by the government of exchanging his political influence for lavish gifts and large political donations from an ophthalmologist friend of his in Florida. Both denied the accusations.
What did Menendez say about the announcement?
Senator Menendez’s office released a statement in response to the letter of intent from the Department of Justice.
“We regret that the DOJ, after spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, and failing to prove a single allegation in a court of law, has decided to double down on an unjust prosecution,” the statement read.
“Evidently, they did not hear the overwhelming voices of the New Jerseyans who served on the jury this fall,” it continued. “Senator Menendez fully intends to be vindicated — again.”