Judge declares mistrial in New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez bribery trial

Posted November 17, 2017

The judge in the New Jersey Democrats' federal bribery trial declared a mistrial Thursday.

Hours after the jury handed U.S. District Judge William H. Walls a note that read, "We can not reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges, nor are we willing to move away from our strong convictions", the judge declared a mistrial.

After receiving Thursday's note, U.S. District Court Judge William Walls made a decision to interview the foreman and at least one other juror in chambers, in the presence of the lawyers on the case. "After hearing details of Bob Menendez's corruption during his bribery trial, New Jerseyans are disgusted", Salera said.

With the trial in it's 11th week, jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the 18 counts in the indictment against Menendez and a wealthy friend.

The senator is accused of accepting bribes from Melgen - an eye doctor from Florida - in the form of big donations and vacations in exchange for political favors.

This is a developing story. Bob Menendez said Thursday that it could not reach a verdict on the fourth day of deliberations since a federal judge instructed them to start their discussions from scratch.

The jury showed signs this week that they would be unable to reach a verdict.

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In total, jury deliberations lasted six days, but ended deadlocked.

Outside the courthouse, a choked-up Menendez fought back tears as he blasted federal authorities for bringing the case and thanked the jurors in the 2½-month trial "who saw through the government's false claims and used their Jersey common sense to reject it".

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. I think we have a real hung jury, " said Lowell.

So far, though, no strong primary challengers have emerged and judging by the defiant tone Menendez struck on Thursday afternoon, he seems to have no intention of stepping aside.

"To those who were digging my political grave so they could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won't forget you", Menendez said. Senate Democrats nervous about the remote possibility of a Republican being named a temporary replacement for Menendez should he have been forced out of office before Democrat Phil Murphy becomes governor on January 16, 2018, are breathing easier. Conversely, the charges likely would be hanging over him as he seeks re-election next year, assuming the government seeks a retrial.

The judge in the corruption trial of Senator Robert Menendez is interviewing individual jurors privately after the panel told him in a note that it was still deadlocked on the seventh full day of deliberations, raising the prospect of a mistrial.