Judge Declines to Throw Out Menendez Bribery Charges

Judge Declines to Throw Out Menendez Bribery Charges”

Bob Menendez's corruption trial declined on Monday to dismiss any charges, finding that the entire case against the senator could proceed to a jury even after the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the scope of bribery crimes in the 2016 case McDonnell v.

The federal judge presiding over the Sen.

Menendez, 63, has pleaded not guilty. The defense is expected to begin on Monday afternoon. Lawyers for the defense argued that the prosecution had to show a more direct link between a specific gift followed by a specific political favor.

Dr. Salomon Melgen arrives April 2 at U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey.

The indictment specifically alleged Menendez had intervened in a Medicare billing dispute, a port security contract and the visa applications of Melgen's foreign girlfriends, in exchange for private plane flights, luxury hotel stays, auto service and campaign contributions. After prosecutors rested their case on Wednesday, defense lawyers renewed their argument that the Supreme Court's decision a year ago vacating the corruption conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell also undermined the bribery counts against Menendez.

Walls last week had reportedly cast doubt on the charges, but on Monday he said the "court concludes that a rational jury could determine that the defendants entered into a quid pro quo agreement".

Menendez's lawyers argued the Supreme Court decision had invalidated the "stream of benefits" theory being used to prosecute Menendez, according to the Politico article.

Despite Walls' ruling, the McDonnell decision is likely to play a role in the length and wording of the final jury instructions - the focus of the appeals court's decisions in the cases of Silver and Skelos. The government's theory of the case "captures the most egregious forms of bribery where, like here, corruption is so pervasive that it involves more than a single gift or an isolated official act and often lasts for years", they said.

"Payment may be made with intent to retain official services on an as-needed bases, so whenever the opportunity presents itself the official will take official action on behalf of the payer's benefit", he said.

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