NEWARK — After greater than two months of testimony and deliberations, the corruption case towards U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez is on the verge of a mistrial.
On Monday afternoon, after deliberating for about two hours, the jury foreman despatched a be aware to Judge William Walls stating that the panel was deadlocked on all counts towards the Democratic senator and his co-defendant, Florida eye physician Salomon Melgen.
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“As of 2 p.m., on behalf of all jurors, we cannot reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges. Is there any additional guidance? What do we do now?” acknowledged the be aware, which was learn aloud by Walls.
The decide then re-read a number of the directions he delivered to the jury two weeks in the past on how they need to attain a verdict, the way it’s their responsibility to “consult with one another” and the way “you must make a determination of whether the government has met its burden beyond a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of any defendant.”
Walls then despatched the jurors dwelling an hour early and instructed them to return Tuesday morning.
“I want you to cease your deliberations, go home and have a good meal and a good sleep. And I want you to come back here tomorrow to continue deliberations,” he stated.
Before the jury entered the courtroom, Walls requested prosecutors and protection attorneys for recommendation.
Lead prosecutor Peter Koski stated that since one juror had simply been changed, this jury had technically solely been deliberating for a few hours.
“My recollection is that the jury began deliberating anew at 11 a.m. this morning [and] they had an hour lunch break. That means based upon receipt of this note, the jury would have only been deliberating a few hours,” Koski stated. “Two to three hours after a nine-week trial. My recommendation is that the jury be sent back to continue deliberating.”
Menendez lawyer Abbe Lowell stated Walls ought to declare a mistrial, as a result of regardless of the addition of the brand new juror, the panel had already spent greater than three days deliberating earlier than Monday.
“Under the circumstances and given all that’s occurred, it seems to me we should take them at their word, bring them back in, thank them for their service and declare a mistrial,” Lowell stated.
Lowell additionally objected to Walls’ feedback to the jurors, criticizing his number of a small portion of jury directions to re-read to them and the very fact he despatched them dwelling early.
“By letting them out early with the instruction you did, it feels a little like you’re telling them that they need to reach a verdict,” Lowell stated.
Walls wasn’t swayed.
“I see nothing wrong with it and if you see something wrong with it that’s your prerogative,” he stated.
The jurors’ be aware didn’t come as an enormous shock. The juror who was dismissed final week, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, instructed reporters the jury couldn’t agree on a verdict and that she believed they’d be deadlocked.
“Everybody’s not agreeing,” stated Arroyo-Maultsby, who was dismissed Thursday so she might take a trip that had been deliberate earlier than the trial started on Sept. 5. “Yes, there’s trouble in the jury room.”
Menendez, a Democrat and New Jersey’s senior senator, is charged with advocating for Melgen’s enterprise pursuits with prime U.S. authorities officers in alternate for holidays within the Dominican Republic, personal jet flights, lodge stays, a automotive service and about $750,000 in political contributions.
“Clearly, there are jurors who believe in my innocence,” Menendez told reporters outside the courthouse. “I want to thank them for that. I want to thank all the jurors for their service. But I believe no juror should be coerced. It seems to me that all of these jurors, save one, have been deliberating since [last] Monday and I would hope that at the end of the day after they finish tomorrow that those who continue to believe in my innocence will stand strong.”