(10/11/2017) – The prosecution on Wednesday rested its case against Sen. Robert Menendez and his co-defendant, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, after more than a month of testimony.
Prosecutors closed with a witness they had called several times over the course of the federal corruption trial: FBI agent Alan Mohl, who was a key witness in building the case against Menendez and Melgen.
Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell immediately moved to dismiss the case based on the “government’s lack of satisfying the burden of proof.”
To read the full story in Politico, click here.
Newark, New Jersey (CNN) – Prosecutors rested their federal corruption case against Sen. Bob Menendez Wednesday, capping off weeks of a trial that could determine the political future of the New Jersey Democrat.
Over 18 days of testimony from 35 witnesses, prosecutors have tried to establish a “quid pro quo” bribery theory that they set forth during open arguments.
“This case is about a corrupt politician who sold his Senate office for a life of luxury he couldn’t afford,” said prosecutor Peter Koski. “And a greedy doctor who put that politician on his payroll for when he needed the services of a United States senator.”
To read the CNN report, click here.
SUPREME COURT RULING THREATENS TO DERAIL CASE AGAINST MENENDEZ
NEWARK (10/11/17) — After federal prosecutors rested their case in the corruption trial of Senator Robert Menendez on Wednesday, the federal judge presiding over the trial raised critical questions into one of the core tenets of the government’s case against the New Jersey senator, citing a United States Supreme Court decision that overturned the conviction of the Bob McDonnell, a former governor of Virginia.
Continue reading in The New York Times by clicking here.
WILL JUDGE TOSS CASE BEFORE IT GOES TO THE JURY?
Sen. Bob Menendez’s federal corruption trial is expected to last several more weeks, but a cryptic comment from the judge presiding over the case has renewed questions about whether it will even go to the jury.
“I am very careful because of you know what and that being McDonnell,” Judge William Walls said earlier this week — issuing the legal equivalent of a thunderclap in the courtroom.
The “McDonnell” bomb that Walls dropped is a 2016 Supreme Court case unanimously tossing out the bribery conviction of former Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell (photo at top) — a result that has produced a gold mine of litigation for defense attorneys seeking to upend guilty verdicts in corruption cases.
‘WHERE IS THE CRIME EXACTLY?’
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has spent the past month on trial in New Jersey for allegations that he was bribed with villa stays, private plane flights and campaign donations to help a wealthy donor resolve several disputes with the government. It’s the first federal bribery trial of a sitting U.S. senator in more than three decades, and if he’s found guilty over the next few weeks, it could have political implications for President Trump’s agenda.
The Washington Post interviewed Thomas Moriarty, the federal courts reporter for N.J. Advance Media, to see how the Menendez trial was going. When asked what the headline was for the trial so far, he answered: Where is the crime exactly? If there is a crime, where is it?
To read the Washington Post report, click here.
MEETING WITH SEBELIUS IS FOCUS OF MENENDEZ TRIAL
(10/3/2017) – The bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is focusing on a 2012 meeting with then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
An indictment charges the New Jersey Democrat met with Sebelius in 2012 to advocate on behalf of Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen in Melgen’s $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute. It alleges Melgen bribed Menendez with trips on his private jet and luxury hotel stays.
A former agency official testified Monday that Menendez reacted angrily when the staffer disagreed with the senator’s claim that Medicare billing policy was being applied inconsistently.
To read the Associated Press story, click here.
‘HE WAS NOT HAPPY’: MENENDEZ PUSHED FOR RULE CHANGE IN DOC’S DISPUTE, OBAMA OFFICIALS TESTIFY
(10/3/2017) – Top health officials from the Obama administration testified Tuesday (Oct. 3) that Sen. Robert Menendez pressured them to change a long-standing Medicare policy in a way that would benefit the Florida ophthalmologist at the center of the New Jersey Democrat’s corruption trial.
Then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the highest-level Obama official to testify in the case, took the stand Tuesday to describe a meeting she had with Menendez in the office of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Prosecutors’ previously filed brief said that meeting was held in August 2012 and alleged Menendez “personally pressured” Sebelius to intervene over a Medicare payment policy, though Sebelius balked.
To read the Fox News story, click here.
MENENDEZ HAS SET A NEW LOW FOR BLATANT CORRUPTION IN THE U.S.
(9/30/2017) – The bribery trial of senior New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez has it all.
Menendez is facing charges that he sold his U.S. Senate office to a Palm Beach, Fla., eye doctor, his co-defendant Salomon Melgen, for bribes in the form of private jets stocked with Menendez’s favorite beverages, a private villa at one of the lushest resorts in the Caribbean, and a Paris hotel suite for which Melgen spent 650,000 American Express points.
That relationship allowed Menendez to enjoy a lifestyle far beyond his legitimate income of $174,000. It was a life of luxury funded by one of the largest Medicare frauds in history, a $105 million scheme for which Melgen has already been convicted on 67 counts of fraud in a separate federal trial in Florida.
In return, Menendez allegedly got Melgen visas for his girlfriends, pressured the State Department to deliver a Dominican port-security contract and pressed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to approve the massive Medicare overbilling scheme that kept the good times rolling.
To read the full New York Post story, click here.
BERNIE SANDERS ON MENENDEZ TRIAL: ‘LET THE PROCESS TAKE ITS COURSE’
(10/01/2017) – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday said his colleague, Sen. Bob Menendez, deserves “due process” when asked whether the New Jersey Democrat should resign if convicted of corruption charges.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa — I think, in this country, people are entitled to due process,” Sanders told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I’m not into speculating … if that will be Menendez’s decision. He has not been convicted. Let the process take its course,” the Vermont senator said.
To read this article from The Hill, click here.
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ’S TRIAL BY THE NUMBERS
(09/29/2017) – CNN is updating a weekly list derived from the court proceedings of the Bob Menendez trial for corruption.
MENENDEZ’S ATTORNEY SAID HE MAY TAKE THE STAND
Abbe Lowell (in photo with Sen. Menendez), leading Menendez’s legal defense, said last week the senator may testify while arguing jurors need to understand the scandal’s full context, including claims that Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen visited prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.
The prostitution claims were never proven, but initial reporting spurred Menendez to repay Melgen for two previously undisclosed private jet flights costing nearly $70,000 and triggered a federal probe that uncovered more flights and other exchanges of gifts and favors.
For the full story from the Washington Examiner, click here.
N.J. VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY WANT SEN. BOB MENENDEZ TO RESIGN IF HE IS CONVICTED OF BRIBERY
New Jersey voters overwhelmingly want Sen. Bob Menendez to resign if he is convicted of bribery charges, and those with an unfavorable opinion of the Paramus Democrat outnumber those with a favorable view by more than 2-to-1, a Suffolk University poll conducted for the USA TODAY Network in New Jersey found.
MENENDEZ DONOR’S REP ‘THREATENED’ U.S. OFFICIAL
When a wealthy donor to Sen. Bob Menendez asked government officials for help in a contract dispute and was rebuffed, the donor’s representative responded with bluster and threats, claiming he had political connections that could “cause a lot of problems,” a U.S. Commerce Department official testified Monday.
The official, Scott Smith, told jurors he took the comment to refer to Menendez.
‘HE MAY BE A SLEAZE, BUT HE’S OUR SLEAZE’
The trial has become a war of attrition between the prosecution and defense, writes a columnist for NJ.com.
The prosecution seeks to pound into the heads of the juries all of the instances in which the senator got treatment that few of us will ever experience. All came courtesy of his friendship with a Florida eye doctor who was found guilty last spring of 67 counts of defrauding Medicare of $105 million.
The defense is doing a masterful job at raising questions about each of the allegations. When he stayed with the doctor at that ultra-luxury suite in the Dominican Republic, how do we know he didn’t pick up his own tab with cash?
[PHOTO AT TOP of Sen. Menendez surrounded by his son and daughter outside the courthouse on the first day of trial.]