Bob Menendez trial ends in mistrial after jury deadlocks

Bob Menendez trial ends in mistrial after jury deadlocks

It was a stunning rebuke to federal prosecutors who sought to paint Menendez as a crooked, well-connected politician who traded favors with a wealthy Florida eye doctor, Salomon Melgen, for expensive trips and gifts.

"We can not reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges", the missive continued.

MORE: 6 weird things about the case against Sen.

Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a statement Thursday that Menendez had been indicted on numerous federal felonies and his trial shed light on serious accusations of "violating the public's trust as trust as an elected official, as well as potential violations of the Senate's Code of Conduct".

Newark Federal Court Judge Williams Walls announced the mistrial shortly after 1 p.m. following the second jury note in four days announcing the panel was at an impasse.

The mistrial could aid Menendez by not subjecting him to pressure to step down in the event of a conviction.

After receiving Thursday's note, U.S. District Court Judge William Walls chose to interview the foreman and at least one other juror in chambers, in the presence of the lawyers on the case. According to the judge, such action would go down "the slippery slope of coercion".

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Outside court, Menendez said he appreciated "the jurors who have been standing up for my innocence during the course of jury deliberations". In theory, once a senator faces federal bribery charges, it's tempting to think his or her career probably won't recover, but I'd caution against assuming that in this case.

One of the 12 jurors later told the press that two of them wanted to convict the Democratic senator, while the other 10 wanted to acquit Menendez on all counts. An attorney for co-defendant Salomon Melgen asked Walls to poll the jury individually to confirm they are deadlocked.

The jury deliberations, which began last week, followed eight weeks of testimony.

While mistrials are generally considered wins for defense lawyers and losses for prosecutors, the Justice Department will likely feel significant internal pressure to put the senator on trial again, because recent Supreme Court decisions have raised questions about how much legal authority prosecutors still have in pursuing corruption charges involving payments not explicitly and directly linked to official acts. Menendez is seen walking to his auto with his son, Robert Jr., as he departs the federal court on Wednesday in Newark, New Jersey.

Prosecutors would not say whether they plan to retry Menendez.

Menendez also had harsh words for those who predicted his political doom. At the same time, he said that he wouldn't forget those who were gunning for his seat.

"To those new Jerseyans, who gave me the benefit of the doubt, I thank you".

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