Monday, October 16, 2017

Judge refuses to dismiss case against NJ Sen. Menendez

Senator Bob Menendez arrives at courthouse with his daughter and son (AP photo)
David Porter writes for the Associated Press:

The judge at Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial refused to throw out any of the charges against the New Jersey Democrat on Monday in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowing the definition of bribery.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Williams Walls was a major defeat for Menendez and a huge victory for prosecutors, who warned that dismissing the charges would torpedo nearly all other bribery cases and open the door wide to graft.
Walls rejected defense lawyers’ arguments that the allegations against Menendez didn’t meet the new, narrower definition of bribery under a 2016 Supreme Court ruling that reversed the conviction of Republican former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia.
In recent months, the McDonnell ruling led judges to throw out bribery convictions of at least three other former public officials, including a Pennsylvania congressman.
Federal prosecutors in the Menendez trial rested their case last week. The defense will now begin presenting its case.
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