The Justice Department gives Menendez a break

  • The Justice Department gives Menendez a break

The Justice Department gives Menendez a break

Though prosecutors initially asked for the "earliest possible date" to retry Menendez, Judge Walls threw a wrench in that plan with a ruling on December 24 that dismissed six of the bribery charges against Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist.

Less than two weeks ago, the Justice Department had announced its intention to retry Menendez, after a trial previous year ended in a hung jury.

Two months earlier a jury had deadlocked in the case, which involved allegations that the politician's acceptance of gifts of private jet flights, luxury vacations and substantial campaign donations from his wealthy doctor friend Melgen constituted crimes. Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the chamber, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called for an Ethics Committee investigation of Menendez.

In a curt statement of its revised plan, the DOJ cited last week's decision by the judge in the case to dismiss several counts against Menendez and his co-defendant.

"We take no pleasure in seeing justice done at this stage in a case that should never have been brought", Ogrosky said. "All that said, justice today is better than continuing on to inevitable acquittals on the remaining counts", he added.

Melgen was convicted separately in Florida last spring in a Medicare fraud case that prosecutors amounted to more than $100 million.

Walls said the mere fact that some of the money arrived around the same time that Menendez took actions that could benefit Melgen was not enough to prove a "quid pro quo" arrangement.

"The only thing I can possibly think of is that you can't believe that a Latino kid who grew up poor and ultimately comes from this county that has a history - somehow, how does he get to be a US senator without doing things that are wrong?"

So Menendez gets away with his corruption, proving once again that rules are for the little people. "There were no wiretaps, conversations, videos or cooperating witnesses".

The Justice Department decided Wednesday not to pursue corruption charges against Sen. "So it was always to going to be hard for prosecutors".

"This case has been on a long, winding road, and this is a surprising end, " said Robert Mintz, a New Jersey lawyer and former federal prosecutor. "This is the way things work in Washington".

In a surprise move, the U.S. Justice Department has dropped its corruption case against U.S. Sen. "This case was nearly criminalizing the political process".