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Government won’t retry Menendez on corruption charges

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NEWARK, N.J. — Government prosecutors decided Wednesday not to retry Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez on corruption charges, after a judge threw out some of the counts last week.

Prosecutors filed a motion with the court on Wednesday to throw out the case after the first trial of the New Jersey Democrat and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen ended in a hung jury last November.

Menendez was charged with trading his political influence for gifts and campaign donations from Melgen.

Last week the judge threw out the bribery counts related to Melgen’s campaign donations. Eleven charges remained before Wednesday’s decision, including bribery, fraud and conspiracy.

Defence lawyers had argued Melgen’s donations had to be tied to specific acts by Menendez to be considered bribes. That’s a higher standard than the one applied to gifts Melgen gave to Menendez over the years that are the basis for the bribery charges that remain.

U.S. District Judge William Walls’ ruling essentially overrode the jury, which couldn’t reach a verdict after several days of deliberations in November.

After the mistrial, several jurors said as many as 10 of the 12 panel members were in favour of acquittal, leading some experts to speculate the government wouldn’t pursue a retrial.

Thoook.com