ibusinesslines.com March 18, 2018

Senator Menendez jury resumes as possible mistrial looms

15 November 2017, 10:56 | Kelvin Horton

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg via Getty Images

The case marks the first time in nearly a decade that a sitting US senator faced a federal bribery charge. Bob Menendez will resume deliberations Tuesday, a day after they told the judge they are at an impasse.

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.

Afterward, Walls told them to go home early and clear their heads.

The trial is in its 11th week.

The men each face about a dozen counts including bribery, fraud and conspiracy.

Menendez is also accused of intentionally concealing from the Senate Melgen's gifts by omitting them from his annual disclosure forms.

Both men have denied all charges, saying the gifts and vacations were part of a decades-long friendship. Defense attorneys have sought to show jurors that the two men are longtime pals who exchanged gifts out of friendship. They also say Menendez intervened in a dispute between Melgen and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Bob Menendez and a wealthy donor and friend told the judge on Monday it couldn't reach a verdict on any of the 18 counts against them.

Jurors received those exhortations Tuesday after telling U.S. District Judge William Walls the day before that they couldn't reach a unanimous verdict on any of the 18 counts against the New Jersey Democrat.

The juror told reporters she and others were in favor of acquittal but she anticipated a hung jury. On Tuesday morning, Walls advised jurors on ways they could try to resolve a deadlock.

An alternate juror was subbed in on Monday, meaning that deliberations had to start from scratch.

"As of 2 p.m., on behalf of all jurors, we can not reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges".

He also declined a juror's request last Monday for a transcript of the closing argument by Abbe Lowell, Menendez's attorney.

Remarks from a juror excused in the middle of deliberations in Sen.

While Walls' comments Tuesday may have been meant to empower the deadlocked jurors, one expert said they may not matter.

Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, who was excused from the jury Thursday due to a previous commitment, said she would have acquitted the Democratic senator and co-defendant Salomon Melgen on all counts.

"She did everything but name names", Napolitano said.

Melgen, in turn, paid for private jets, hotel rooms and forked over almost $75,000 in campaign contributions to Menendez.

Arroyo-Maultsby's comments appeared to indicate at least some, and possibly a majority, of the jurors may believe the defense's theory.

"Menendez and Christie are opposite sides of the same coin: They both have excelled in the dark darts of New Jersey politics, but they are both, now, at the end of their political careers because voters are exhausted of the swamp", he said. "And I want you to come back here tomorrow to continue deliberations", he said.

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