New Jersey US Sen. Menendez 'sold his office'

Image Salomon Melgen

Image Salomon Melgen

Robert Menendez arrived at a federal courthouse in Newark, New Jersey Wednesday morning for the start of a long-awaited federal corruption trial.

Lowell told jurors that Menendez's meetings with executive branch officials could have benefited Dr. Salomon Melgen's interests but that they were focused on future policy.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is facing a dozen counts of bribery, conspiracy, and fraud charges in a corruption probe involving one of his close friends.

Both Menendez and Melgen have pleaded not guilty. Individually and through his company, Melgen also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Menendez's legal defense fund and entities that supported his re-election.

Melgen is on trial with Menendez. The judge rejected his request, saying he is no different from any other worker whose schedule is set by others but who has to be in court to face prosecutors...

The defense contends this is not about corruption or bribery but about a long-term friendship. "There's no friendship exception to breaking the law".

"I am looking forward to finally having the opportunity to seek exoneration", Menendez said. A company Melgen owned had a long-running contract dispute with the Dominican government over port security equipment. Their relationship allegedly turned criminal after Menendez became a senator. "A bribery case is not a mix-and-match event", he said.

Either way, this story doesn't end well for Melgen.

The trial of Sen. "And I believe when all the facts are known, I will be vindicated", Menendez said. He won a full term later that year and was re-elected in 2012. Two-thirds of senators would need to vote him out of the upper chamber, meaning that 15 Democratic lawmakers would have to side with the 52-seat Republican majority.

Immigration groups rally as President Trump mulls protections for 'Dreamers'
Though Trump is due to formally announce his decision on Tuesday , sources have cautioned that he could still change his mind. If DACA is ended Tuesday , North Carolina's economy is set to lose more than $1 billion a year, according to CNBC .

The trial will loom large over the gubernatorial and senatorial elections this year in the Garden State, which is reliably Democratic thanks in large part to a handful of counties in the North.

The opening day featured dramatic allegations, including that Menendez "sold his office for a lifestyle he couldn't afford", and testy exchanges - with District Court Judge William H. Walls at one point telling Menendez's lawyer to "shut up". Their joint trial is expected to last about eight weeks.

The last time the Justice Department sought to convict a sitting US senator, they won a conviction only to see the entire case blow up spectacularly months later amid allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

Finally, Menendez's "deep ties throughout the Democratic Party" could hurt other Democrats now or once in the U.S. Senate, America Rising contends.

Booker chatted with Menendez during a break in the court proceedings Wednesday.

But prosecutors say Menendez didn't report any of Melgen's gifts on yearly financial disclosure reports.

Federal prosecutors say U.S. Sen. Lowell responded that Menendez later reimbursed about $58,000 even though it was money "he probably didn't have to pay back at all" under Senate finance rules. Melgen had been slapped with a decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that he had overcharged Medicare for $8.9 million for a retina-related treatment.

Menendez, 63, who has served in the Senate since 2006, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. When attorney Abbe Lowell pointed out that the motion was filed according to the judge's order from December, Walls replied, "Fine".

Recommended News

  • Trump's UN Envoy: Iran Deal 'Designed to Be Too Big to Fail'

    Trump's UN Envoy: Iran Deal 'Designed to Be Too Big to Fail'

    Trump's "America First" slogan does not mean "America Alone", going it alone on the Iran nuclear deal would be just fine, Ms. She said the crisis with nuclear-armed North Korea foreshadowed what could happen if Iran secretly develops nuclear arms.
    10000-acre fire burning in OR  national park

    10000-acre fire burning in OR national park

    In Oregon , people living in about 700 homes in and around the Columbia River Gorge have been forced to evacuate the area. Embers from the fire drifted in the air across the Columbia River - sparking blazes in neighboring Washington state.
    Putin calls tougher North Korea sanctions senseless, warns of 'global catastrophe'

    Putin calls tougher North Korea sanctions senseless, warns of 'global catastrophe'

    South Korea have previously asserted its doubts regarding Pyongyang's ability to develop miniaturised nuclear weapons. Bu the way, Putin has agreed with his South Korean counterpart to hold a detailed discussion of this topic.
  • "Coming back to Paris was key" claims Mbappe at PSG unveiling

    I always thought: "I want to be there, I want to be one of those big players who is trying to give people fun out of the game" . I am hungry for titles. "They have an awesome project and I want to improve and learn from my teammates".
    Bank of Canada raises benchmark interest rate again

    Bank of Canada raises benchmark interest rate again

    That followed unexpectedly healthy growth in the first three months of 2017 and exceeded the Bank of Canada's projections. The suggestion is the Canadian dollar gains aren't totally reflective of growth.
    Jose Mourinho takes fresh swipe at Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

    Jose Mourinho takes fresh swipe at Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

    'If people say that because I move from club to club, they're right, but I don't think I am [short-termist],' he said . He said: "I think we have a good squad but in football you never know what is enough and what is not enough.
  • Colin Trevorrow Is Latest Ex-'Star Wars' Director

    Colin Trevorrow Is Latest Ex-'Star Wars' Director

    STEVEN SPIELBERG - This also seems like a fairy tale, but he and Lucas are close, having worked together on "Indiana Jones". Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release May 24, 2019.
    The European court obliged Slovakia and Hungary to accept refugees

    The European court obliged Slovakia and Hungary to accept refugees

    As Deutsche Welle reports , "Only 24,000. refugees from Greece and Italy have been transferred to other states". Slovakia said that it accepted the top court decision but it was still against the refugee scheme.
    Brics summit: India and China leaders mend ties

    Brics summit: India and China leaders mend ties

    The meeting with Xi was Modi's last appointment in Xiamen before he left for his state visit in Myanmar. Both North Korea's nuclear test and the border standoff between China and India were also discussed.
  • Leaders in Catalonia enraged by tab for independence vote

    Leaders in Catalonia enraged by tab for independence vote

    Lawmakers who opposed independence abandoned the chamber before the vote, with some leaving Catalan flags in their empty seats. The bill was submitted to the parliament outside of its normal schedule which prompted criticism from opposition parties.
    Destiny 2 Remembers Achievements Through Accounts Rather Than Characters

    Destiny 2 Remembers Achievements Through Accounts Rather Than Characters

    Hopefully, in the next couple of days it should settle down and when it does we'll be sure to update this post and let you know. After all, Bungie likes to keep raid details under wraps, preferring players discover raid secrets for themselves.
    Atletico tells Costa to return to Chelsea

    Atletico tells Costa to return to Chelsea

    The chances of Diego Costa rejoining Atletico Madrid tonight are "unlikely, but not impossible", according to Sky sources. Conte, for his part, has repeatedly stated that Costa is "in the past" for Chelsea .

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.