Judge tells Menendez jury to ‘take as much time as you need’


NEWARK, N.J. — A decide advised deadlocked jurors in Sen. Bob Menendez’s bribery trial on Tuesday to “take as much time as you need” to attempt to attain a verdict on 18 counts towards the New Jersey Democrat and his rich buddy.

The panel despatched a notice to U.S. District Judge William Walls on Monday afternoon saying they couldn’t attain a unanimous verdict on any of the counts. Walls advised them to sleep on it and return within the morning.

On Tuesday, he reminded them that juries steadily take time to come back to a consensus.

“Take as much time as you need,” he mentioned. “This is not reality TV. This is real life.”

Deliberations started final week, however the jury restarted on Monday after a juror was excused for a beforehand scheduled trip and was changed by an alternate.

The trial is in its 11th week. Menendez and Florida eye physician Salomon Melgen are charged with working a bribery scheme between 2006 and 2013 by which Menendez lobbied authorities officers on Melgen’s behalf in trade for luxurious holidays and flights on Melgen’s personal aircraft.

The males every face a few dozen counts together with bribery, fraud and conspiracy. Menendez is also charged with making false statements for failing to report Melgen’s presents on Senate disclosure varieties.

Both males deny the allegations. Defense attorneys have sought to point out jurors that the 2 males are longtime friends who exchanged presents out of friendship. They additionally contend Menendez’s conferences with authorities officers have been centered on broad coverage points.

The authorities spent greater than two years investigating the New Jersey senator’s ties with Melgen earlier than indicting them within the spring of 2015. Menendez, the previous chair of the Senate international relations committee, has maintained his innocence since then, and has raised greater than $6 million for his marketing campaign and authorized protection fund for the reason that indictment.

A mistrial additionally would badist Menendez by not subjecting him to strain to step down within the occasion of a conviction. Conversely, the fees doubtless could be hanging over him as he seeks re-election subsequent 12 months, baduming the federal government seeks a retrial.

The trial is the primary main federal corruption trial since a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling raised the bar for prosecutors to show official bribery. That ruling, which overturned the conviction of former Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, performed a big function in how the jury was instructed within the Menendez trial.

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