March 20, 2018

Menendez thanks jurors for 'standing up' for him

15 November 2017, 02:26 | Israel Caldwell

Drew Angerer Getty Images Robert Menendez

Jury deliberations in Menendez trial begin anew

"As of 2 p.m., on behalf of all the jurors, we can not reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges", the jury wrote in its note to Walls. The prosecutors at that time would choose whether to retry the case.

"There's no hurry. This is a serious matter", Judge William Walls told the jury earlier in the day.

Earlier Monday, the judge had paused deliberations to take time to individually question a number of jurors who had admitted to either reading or hearing something about the case over the weekend.

Arroyo-Maultsby was dismissed so she could go on a pre-arranged vacation.

Jurors have been told repeatedly not to read reports about the case. After a private discussion with those jurors, Walls allowed deliberations to continue until he received the note from the jury about the deadlock. "You are to disregard whatever you negotiated or deliberated on last week".

In a note passed to Walls Monday, the jury, comprised of seven women and five men, reported it was "unable to reach a unanimous decision" after three hours of deliberations. The deliberations were supposed to start from scratch once the alternate juror was seated, but instead, the jury seemed to zoom back into the logjam described by Arroyo-Maultsby. Bob Menendez will resume deliberations Tuesday, a day after they told the judge they are at an impasse.

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Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, excused from the jury last week so she could take a long-planned trip to the Bahamas, told reporters she thought Menendez was "not guilty on all counts" and predicted the trial would end in a hung jury. "And clearly there are jurors who believe in my innocence".

Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Menendez, said 11 of the 12 jurors have been deliberating for several days and asked that Walls declare a mistrial. That ruling, which overturned the conviction of former Republican Virginia Gov. "It's always hard to convince 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt to find a defendant guilty".

But Michael Weinstein, chairman of the white-collar defense practice at Cole Shotz in Newark, said he thought the government would request a new trial in the event of a hung jury.

"As I said two and a half years ago when I first faced these charges, I was innocent", he said.

Prosecutors allege the senator and the wealthy Florida eye doctor engaged in a bribery scheme in which Menendez took official actions to benefit Melgen in exchange for luxury vacations and flights on Melgen's private jet. Menendez and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen are charged with running a bribery scheme between 2006 and 2013 in which Menendez lobbied government officials on Melgen's behalf in exchange for luxury vacations and flights on Melgen's private plane. Conversely, the charges likely would be hanging over him as he seeks re-election next year, assuming the government seeks a retrial.

In total, Menendez faces six counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, one count of conspiracy, one count of interstate travel to carry out bribery and one count of making false statements on his congressional financial disclosures to hide the crimes.

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